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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: August 19, 2008

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North America

Operations Return

Oil and gas companies and chemical makers in Southeast Texas have resumed operations with no reports of damage from Tropical Storm Eduoard.  The storm made landfall on the upper Texas cost and inched inland east of Houston, hitting the Beaumont-Port Arthur area with heavy winds and rain.


ExxonMobil Chemical has completed a major expansion to increase halobutyl manufacturing capacity at its plant in Baytown, Texas.  The expansion added equipment and modified existing facilities at the plant to increase the capacity for Bromobutyl rubber by 60%.


Potash Corp. halted operations at a mine in Saskatchewan, Canada while managers handled what maintenance they could at two others in the wake of a strike by 500 unionized workers.  Workers have said wages, pensions, vacation and contracting out are key issues in the dispute.


Dow Water Solutions, the water treatment business unit of the Dow Chemical Co., will do another major expansion of its plant in Edina, Minnesota. The company plans to spend $88 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Edina to be able to produce additional reverse osmosis and nano-filtration membranes.  New production lines are expected to start operating later this year, increasing the company’s total output by 25%.

New Plant

Rentech Inc. has opened a synthetic diesel and jet fuel plant in Commerce City, Colorado, the only facility of its kind in the U.S.  The plant is designed to product 420 gallons a day.  The natural gas-based fuel will be sold to the Department of Defense and private companies for further testing that could lead to certifying the fuel for commercial use in the airline industry.     



Mitsui Chemicals Inc. is considering building a phenol plant in Singapore as well as expanding its R&D center there.  The company has secured a plot of land on Jurong Island for the phenol plant and plans to make a definite decision on the plant during the next few months.  If built, the plant will likely begin production in two years with an annual output capacity of 250,000 to 300,000 tons.  They expect to triple the staff at the R&D plant by the end of next year and expand the size of the facility five times to 1,200 square meters.


Taiwanese petrochemical companies plan to invest in naphtha cracking operations in China once the Taiwan government lifts a ban on this.  The companies have already invested in China on a small scale, but hope that the move into sectors like cracking and refining will help them expand in their main export market and integrate their supply chains.


Dow Water Solutions, the water treatment business unit of the Dow Chemical Co., will establish a global Water Technology Development Center at its facilities in Tarragona, Spain.  The center will do product application development and component testing to accelerate Dow’s commercialization of its membrane and ultra-filtration technologies for drinking water treatment.  The company expects to invest $15 million and open the facility by late next year.

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