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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: July 7, 2009

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North America

Properties Sold

Range Resources Corporation has closed the sale of its West Texas Fuhrman Mascho properties in Texas for $182 million. The properties include Range’s interests in 445 producing wells and 54 water injection wells on 13,200 acres.

Plant Closures

Dow Chemical Co. will close three Louisiana plants as part of a shift away from basic chemicals toward the lucrative specialty chemicals business. The company expects to take a $700 million second-quarter charge as part of the announcement, but expects the closings will save about $100 million/year. The approximately 100 people who work at the ethylene plants will be offered jobs elsewhere.



Huntsman Corp. says two investment banks will pay it a $1.7 billion settlement over its accusation they schemed to scuttle a $6.5 billion buyout of the chemicals maker last year. The agreement with Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank will give Huntsman a cash infusion and access to financing at a time when chemical producers are struggling with weak sales linked to the recession. The banks will pay $620 million in cash and provide $500 million in senior-debt financing, $600 million in unsecured note financing and $12 million in legal costs.

Stricter Standards Proposed

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed strengthening the nation’s nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air quality standard designed to protect public help. The proposed changes, the first in more than 35 years, reflect the latest science on the health effects of exposure to NO2. The proposed revisions include a one-hour NO2 standard at a level between 80 – 100 parts per billion; retaining the current annual average NO2 standard of 53 parts per billion; adding NO2 monitoring within 50 meters of major roads in cities with at least 350,000 residents; and continuing to monitor “area-wide” NO2 concentrations in cities with at least 1 million residents.



Iraqi officials auctioned off oil contracts to foreign oil companies with the aim of reviving production in six developed oil fields that have suffered from neglect since the Iraq war began in 2003. More than 30 companies, including BP and Exxon Mobil, were said to have taking part in the bidding.

Lawsuit Filed

Three men who worked at a DuPont Co. nylon plant in Mercedes, Argentina have sued the chemical manufacturer, claiming that it failed to protect them from asbestos that has left them seriously ill. The plaintiffs claim DuPont has known of the dangers of asbestos exposure for decades, but that workers at the plant were exposed to the deadly substance as recently as 2004, prior to the plant being sold. According to the lawsuit, all three men suffer from asbestosis and two also have asbestos-related cancers.

PVC Plant

Hanwha Chemical Corp. has broken ground for a plant to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in Ningbo, China. The $380 million plant will start commercial production in December 2012. It is expected to have an annual capacity of 300,000 tons.


Non-phthalate Plasticizer

Eastman Chemical Co. has launched its new, high solvating, non-phthalate plasticizer, Eastman DBT, in the European Union. Eastman DBT is particularly suitable for use in PVC plastisols and water-based adhesive applications.

Compounding Boost

ExxonMobil Chemical is investing in increased polypropylene compounding capacity and capability at its Lillebonne, France polypropylene plant. Capacity will increase by 45,000 tons and is expected to be completed by the end of 2009. The expansion will help meet the growing demand for Exxtral performance polyolefins from automotive original equipment manufacturers, primarily in Europe.


Anti-dumping Move

China has imposed a temporary anti-dumping measure on polyamide-6,6 imported from the U.S., Italy, Britain, France and Taiwan. The Ministry of Commerce has said those countries have dumped polyamide-6,6 in China, causing substantial damage to its polyamide-6,6 industry. Polyamide-6,6 is a chemical used to produce synthetic fibers and plastics. Timing for this measure is not determined.      

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