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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: April 2, 2008

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North America

Internet Reporting

All facilities required to submit data to the Environmental Protection Agencyís (EPAís) Toxics Release Inventoryís (TRIís) inception are now able to do so via the Internet using TRI-ME software.  This system has quality checks built into the software, which will help to improve data quality.


Invista has sued DuPont Co. for $800 million, citing serious environmental hazards and public health risks.  According to the lawsuit, less than a month after Invista bought DuPontís Textile and Interiors business for $4 billion they discovered environmental problems at its facilities.  The $800 claim includes both compensatory damages as well as punitive penalties.


The Dow Chemical Co. will conduct a scheduled turnaround at its propylene oxide (PO) production plant in Freeport, Texas for routine maintenance.  The two- to three-week turnaround will involve equipment inspections and, if necessary, repairs and replacements.  Dow has worked with its customers to minimize any disruptions as a result of this scheduled turnaround.


A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sherwin-Williams Co. that sought to keep Columbus, Ohio from suing the company to help pay for the cleanup of properties contaminated with lead paint.  The city of Columbus sued Sherwin-Williams in 2006 with the case remaining pending in the Franklin County Pleas Court.

Ethanol and Biodiesel

Golden Grain Energy says his company is working with BEST BioDiesel Inc. to look at opportunities to expand its ethanol plant operations in Mason City, Iowa to include biodiesel by the end of the year.  They are looking to leverage BESTís technology to take Golden Grainís corn oil and process it into biodiesel.

Plant Closure

Spartech Corp. is cutting 350 jobs and shutting down production at its Mankato, Minnesota sheet facility.  The layoffs include both manufacturing and company personnel.  Production in Mankato will stop by August with the work moving to some of its other production facilities.

New Firm
Cargill and Materia have formed Elevance Renewable Sciences, a company aimed at making specialty chemicals out of renewable oils.  The firm is being launched on its own with $40 million in funding from the private equity firm TPG.


New Project

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) plans to create the countryís largest integrated oil refining and chemicals project in Zhejiang Province in East China.  The project is predicted to achieve an annual processing capacity of 15 million tons.  Sinopec has submitted its plan to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Additional Capacity

Sasol-Huntsman GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between Hutsman Corp. and Sasol Limited, plans to pursue the expansion of its maleic-anhydride manufacturing capacity by 45,000 metric tons.  The company expects the new capacity to be online in the first quarter of 2011.  The expansion will increase production capacity by 75% to 105,000 metric tons.  This will be achieved through the construction of a second 45 kilo-ton reactor and purification section on the same site as the existing plant.  The new reactor and purification section will be operated independently from the existing one to ensure continuous product flow without production interruption.

Construction Underway

Petrobras has started the construction work for the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (Comperj).  This stage of construction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2009.  The full project is expected to go online in 2012 with the capacity to process 150,000 barrels of heavy oil from Marlim each day.  As a result of this capacity, the project will generate savings of more than $2 billion/year in foreign exchange by reducing oil derivate and petrochemical product imports.

The FDA plans to establish eight full-time permanent staff positions at U.S. diplomatic posts in China.  The State Department has given its approval and the move is now awaiting authorization from the Chinese government.  The need for these outposts is an outgrowth of a number of high-profile recalls in the past year involving productions made in China, including toothpaste, pet food and the blood thinner heparin.  In addition, the FDA intends to hire five local Chinese nationals to work with the new FDA staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates General in Shanghai and Guangzhou.  The goal of these posts is to allow greater access for inspections and more interaction with local manufacturers to help ensure that products exported to the U.S. meet U.S. standards for safety and quality.

Manufacturing Center
Halliburton opened a 215,000 square-foot facility approximately 37 miles northwest of Singapore (in Johor, Malaysia) that targets supply chain production and delivery capabilities across Halliburtonís Completion and Production division.  The facility will primarily supply the companyís completion equipment and cementing tools to customers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Europe Eurasia regions. 

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