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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: March 18, 2008

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North America

Capacity expansion

Eastman Chemical Co. is investing in commercial-scale operations that will expand the production capacity for its Tritan co-polyester products at its facility in Kingsport, Tennessee.  The expansion project is expected to be completed by late 2009 and includes both the construction of new manufacturing facilities as well as conversion of some existing operations.

Ozone standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed the most stringent eight-hour standard ever for ozone.  The standards were revised for the first time in more than a decade based on the most recent scientific evidence about the effects of ozone, the primary component of smog.  The new primary eight-hour standard is 0.075 parts per million (ppm) and the new secondary standard is set at a form and level identical to the primary standard.  Previously it was 0.08 ppm for the primary and secondary standards.  The EPA is also recommending changes to the Clean Air Act and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) that include the following principles: they must protect the public health and improve the overall well-being of citizens; should allow decision-makers to consider the benefits, costs, risk trade-offs and feasibility in making decisions about how to clean the air; should provide greater accountability and effective enforcement to ensure not only paper requirements, but also air quality requirements are met, especially in areas with the furthest to go in meeting the standards; and should allow the schedule for addressing NAAQS standards to be driven by the available science and the prioritization of health and environmental concerns, taking into account the multi-pollutant nature of air pollution.


Incitec Pivot Ltd. has entered into an agreement to acquire Dyno Nobel Ltd.  The proposed deal values Dyno Nobel at $3.3 billion, with Incitec offering $2.80 per Dyno Nobel share in its cash and scrip offer.  A combination of the two companies would create a company with exposure to the explosives industry and the growing global fertilizer industry.  It would likely leverage Dyno Nobelís significant North American manufacturing capacity and distribution platform to increase sales into the fertilizer market.  They expect to complete the deal by the end of June.


Coal-to-chemical expansion

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) plans to expand its coal-to-chemical business.  The company plans to develop key technology for three coal-based facilities this year and actively expand coal-to-chemicals.


Dow Polyurethanes has broken ground on a major capacity expansion at its polyols plant in Terneuzen, The Netherlands.  The investment is planned to expand polyol production capacity by 180 kilotons/year.  The expansion is on track to be completed by the middle of 2009.

Process control design

Mustang Engineering has been authorized by ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. to complete the detailed engineering design and site construction management for the process control of a second world-scale steam cracker complex in Singapore.  The project will be integrated with the existing Singapore site, providing feedstock as well as operating and investment synergies with both the chemical plant and refinery.  The new project will include a one million tons/year ethylene cracker, two 650,000 tons/year polyethylene units, a 450,000 tons/year polypropylene unit, a 300,000 tons/year specialty elastomers unit, an aromatics extraction unit to produce 340,000 tons/year of benzene and an oxo-alcohol expansion of 125,000 tons/year.  Start-up is expected in early 2011.

Petrochemical plant

China and Qatar are talking about possibly setting up a joint petrochemical plant in China.  It is projected that the project will be built up in 2013 with an initial processing capacity of approximately 700,000 Ė 800,000 tons/year.  The project will involve both China National Petroleum Corp. and Qatar Petroleum, who are in discussions about the project now.


The planned China paraxylene (PX) chemical plant is likely to be relocated after protests from the public.  The government is suggesting that the plantís construction will likely be moved to Xinhua.  The people of Xiamen expressed concerns about remaining a coastal scenic city rather than becoming a chemical industry base.

Large oil reserves

Talisman Energy Inc. and Marubeni Corp. have discovered natural gas and condensate reserves off the coast of Britain in the North Sea.  The reserves are estimated to hold at least 35 million barrels of crude oil equivalent.  The firms plan to begin commercial production within four years, but also plan to explore other prospects near the discovery area.



Monsanto Co.ís seed research unit in southeastern Brazil was invaded by about 300 people who are part of a local activist group.  The group destroyed a greenhouse and a testing field for genetically modified corn.  This is part of ongoing local protest against Brazilís approval of genetically modified corn that was issued last month.  The target is the MON810 seed that gained government approval.



Clariant International Ltd. and Zhejiang Baihe Chemical Holding Group are expanding the Hangzhou Baihe Clariant Pigements Co. Ltd. joint venture by investing in a plant for the production of Quinacridone specialty organic pigments.  The new plant will be built at the existing joint-venture facility in Hangzhou City, China.

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