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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: May 26, 2009

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North America

BPA Baby Bottle Ban

Chicago has become the first U.S. city to adopt a ban on the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups containing the chemical BPA. The ban is slated to take effect January 31, 2010. Chicago’s ordinance will require retailers to post notices declaring the products they sell do not contain BPA. Violators could be fined up to $100 or more per offense and could lose their licenses. Chicago is the third jurisdiction in the country to ban BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. New York’s Suffolk County became the first last month, and Minnesota passed a ban shortly thereafter. Canada became the first country to announce plans for a similar ban last year.


OSHA Citing Prior to Explosion

A fire broke out a Columbus Chemical Industries, causing a series of three explosions that rocked the building just after firefighters arrived. The company provides chemicals to high-tech and pharmaceutical companies. No workers were at the plant and it’s still unclear how the fire started. The company was fined about $4,300 in 2005 for 10 safety violations, including eight labeled “serious” by OSHA. The violations involved handling of flammable and hazardous materials and maintenance of safety equipment. An OSHA spokesman said the company promptly corrected those violations and has had no problems since.


U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions Down

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels decreased by 2.8 percent in 2008, from 5,967 million metric tons of CO2 in 2007 to 5,802 million metric tons of CO2 in 2008, according to preliminary estimates released by the Energy Information Administration. This is the largest annual decline in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions since the group began annual reporting on greenhouse gas emissions. Factors that influenced the emissions decline included record-high oil prices and a decline in economic activity in the second half of the year.

Mexican Petchem Plan

Five consortiums of engineering and construction firms have placed  bids for a project to double capacity at Mexico’s Cangrejera petrochemicals complex. Pemex expects to invest $63 million in 2009 and a total of $504 million during the next three years to build three plants and double paraxylene capacity to 488,000 tons a year.


Butyl Rubber Capacity Boost

ExxonMobil Chemical’s affiliate ExxonMobil Yugen Kaisha has announced that Japan’s Butyl Co. Ltd. will increase its butyl rubber production capacity by 18,000 tons/year at its Kawasaki Plant. This expansion will increase capacity to 98,000 tons/year when the project is completed in late 2010. The expansion will incorporate some of ExxonMobil’s recent advances in process technology.

Short-Time Work

BASF SE is introducing short-time work in the coming months for about 1,000 employees in 20 production plants and associated service units at its site in Ludwigshafen. These measures will be undertaken mainly at production units for pigments, intermediates, petrochemicals and inorganics. Most of the 1,000 employees will start working short time in June and July; a smaller number will follow in August and September. The number of hours worked will be reduced by between 20 to 100 percent and for up to four months according to the circumstances at the individual plants. Irrespective of the reduction in working hours, employees will receive a net wage of approximately 90 percent as a result of short-time work compensation provided by the German government as well as a payment from the company under the terms of the collective wage agreement for the chemical industry. Rapid reintroduction of normal working hours is possible at any time, pending a pickup in demand.


Framework Deal

Neste Jacobs has signed a long-term framework agreement with Abu Dhabi National Chemicals Company (ChemaWEyaat) covering engineering services for construction of one of the world’s largest chemicals industrial cities. The first complex to be built in the ChemaWEyaat Industrial City in the Kahlifa Industrial Zone at Taweelah in Abu Dhabi will include an ethylene cracker, a reformer and various polymer and chemicals processing units. ChemaWEyaat is planning to build a number of smaller complexes as well. Under the framework agreement, Neste Jacobs could be commissioned to carry out signification front-end engineering work.    

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