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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from around the world.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: June 24, 2008

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North America

Production shift

The Lubrizol Corporation is halting some production at its Avon Lake, Ohio plant due to cost increases in energy and raw materials.  The plantís work will move to other North American emulsion production facilities in Pedricktown, New Jersey and Gastonia, North Carolina.


Monsanto Co. and BASF are partnering on a new fungicide seed treatment solution for soybeans in the U.S. that is expected to be commercialized in 2009.  Monsanto will have exclusive rights to commercialize the new fungicide seed treatment in soybeans, which will be done in conjunction with the launch of its Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean seed offering.  The treatment, which will contain BASFís fungicide F500, will provide soybean farmers with early-season disease protection.


An explosion at a Goodyear chemical plant that makes synthetic rubber for tires killed one worker and injured six others.  There was a blast in a heat exchange unit at the plant as well as a small release of ammonia, which is used to cool processed liquids.  The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

New catalyst

University of California-Riverside scientists are using a newly discovered catalyst to aid in the production of amines at a low cost and with no waste products.  They say the new technology can quickly, cleanly and inexpensively produce amines to be used in solvents, additives, detergents, dyes and bactericides.


Huntsman Corp. is filing suit against Apollo Management LLC and its partners as a result of them allegedly falsely representing their attempt to buy Huntsman.


Monsanto Co. plans to acquire Marmot S.A., which operates Semillas Cristiani Bukard.  Terms of and timing for the deal were not disclosed.  The acquisition will enable Monsanto to provide new higher-yielding corn seed offerings to farmers.


Relocation recommendation

The Egyptian parliament has recommended a relocation of Agrium Inc.ís $1.2 billion fertilize plant from Damietta.  Residents have feared pollution, prompting the recommendation that it be moved to another suitable industrial zone.


Bayer AG plans to invest $156 million in its Brazilian operations through the end of next year.  The company plans to invest $62 million in its Belford Roxo plant for modernization and technical upgrading of the production facilities for plastics precursors and crop protection products as well as overall infrastructure.  The additional $93 million will be used at other company sites in the country.


Shell announced the first start-up using its new Shell OMEGA (Only Mono-Ethylene Glycol Advanced) process technology.  The process uses catalytic conversion of ethylene oxide to monethylene glycol (MEG) as opposed to the traditional thermal conversion approach.  The start-up was at Lotte Daesanís chemical manufacturing facility in Daesan, Korea.

Capability boost

LyondellBasell Industries plans to expand its global polypropylene (PP) compounding capacity to 1.2 million tons/year by the end of 2009, a growth rate of more than 30%.  The capacity boost will occur as a result of opening a new plant in Guangzhou, China and Damman, Saudi Arabia as well as further expansion at existing sites in Suzhou, China; Rayong, Thailand; and Ensenada, Argentina.  They are also considering additional plant investment options for Russia and India.

Joint venture

Ashland Inc. is joining Sud-Chemie AG in a metal-casting joint venture that will include three of the companiesí business units.  Each will hold a 50% share in the venture that will be headquartered in Venlo, the Netherlands.  The joint venture will combine Ashlandís Casting Solutions business group, Sud-Chemieís foundry-related businesses and Ashland-Sudchemie-Kernfest GmbH, a joint venture formed by the two companies in 1970.  The deal is expected to close early next year.

Restructuring and expense reduction initiatives

Ferro Corporation is taking additional actions to rationalize manufacturing and reduce expenses worldwide.  It will discontinue manufacturing tile frits and tile color products at its facilities in Americana, Brazil by the end of June 2008.  It will continue to product porcelain enamel frit and glass color at glaze products at that plant.  Color products required by Brazilian customers after June will be provided by the companyís facilities in Mexico and Spain.  The company will also take additional actions in its Inorganic Specialties business, primarily in Europe and Asia.    

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