Industry News Editor Christa Semko Every two weeks, Christa will
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A Congressional Interior Department investigation into a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity by workers at the agency that issues offshore drilling leases and collects royalties may affect the ongoing offshore drilling debate.The two-year, $5.3 million investigation found workers at the Minerals Management Service’s royalty collection office in Denver were partying, having sex, using drugs and accepting gifts and ski trips and golf outings from energy company representatives with whom they did government business.
Rockwood Holdings Inc. will sell its pool and spa chemicals business to Arch Chemicals Inc. for $130 million in cash. The business, Advantis, makes and markets swimming pool, spa and surface-water treatment chemicals.The sale is in line with Rockwood’s strategy of divesting non-core businesses.The deal should close early in the fourth quarter.
Exploring Divestiture Options
The Dow Chemical Co. is exploring divestiture options for its Clear Lake Operations acrylic acid and esters and UCAR Emulsion Systems specialty latex businesses in North America.Exploring these options is driven by Dow’s interest in proactively mitigating potential anti-trust issues associated with its acquisition of Rohm and Haas.The business includes an acrylic acid and esters production plant in Clear Lake, TX and UCAR Emulsion System specialty latex product plants in St. Charles, Louisiana; Alsip, Illinois and Torrance, California as well as a commercial and technical center in Cary, North Carolina.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) headquarters in Washington, D.C. is now generating some of its own electricity thanks to 891 photovoltaic solar panels installed its roof.The panels are able to generate 205 kilowatts of maximum electricity output.This will help the DOE meet a national goal of generating 7.5% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010.
Stepan, a surfactants producer, and Nalco, a water treatment chemicals maker, are forming a joint venture, Tiorco, to market their combined line of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) chemicals.Tiorco will be equally owned by both companies and act as an agent for each of the companies.
OPEC plans to trim its overall output by more than 500,000 barrels of oil/day to 28.8 million barrels/day by adhering closer to production quotas.This move is intended to avoid a backlash from the biggest petroleum consuming nations and stop the rapid decline in oil prices.In addition, Russia and OPEC made a new agreement intended to improve bilateral cooperation in energy issues, but the talks are still in the early stages.
New Plant Project
LyondellBasell Industries, through its wholly owned subsidiary Basell Service Company B.V., the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Ltd. (NGC), National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago, Ltd. (NEC) and Lurgi GmbH have signed a Project Development Agreement that is intended to provide the relevant framework to jointly evaluate the construction and operation of a fully integrated polypropylene complex in Trinidad and Tobago.The project will include the production of 490 kilo-tons of polyolefins from three plants, including a methanol plant and a methanol-to-propylene (MTP(R)) plant.Start up of operations is tentatively scheduled for late 2012.
State gas utility GAIL India will nearly double its Pata petrochemical plant’s capacity to 800,000 tons in the next few years.The Pata plant in Uttar Pradesh currently has a capacity of 410,000 tons.
Stricter Safety Control
China’s cabinet has urged the country’s chemical plants to tighten work safety control following another fatal blast.The call to action includes a request to meet specific safety and environment standards.The cabinet no longer wants disqualified technicians or institutions providing designs for technical upgrades at chemical factories.The cabinet also said that it will punish those enterprises failing to fix any major hidden safety hazards beginning next year.