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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: August 4, 2009

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North America

More Job Cuts

Louisianaís chemical industry stands to lose 700 to 1,200 jobs by the end of 2010 according to the Louisiana Chemical Association. This will continue a 10-year trend of reduced employment. The industry currently employs about 24,000 people, down from an all-time high of 35,000 in 1999.


Report Delay

Government and company officials say managers at DuPontís Belle, West Virginia chemical plant waited two days to report a toxic material leak to authorities. No one was injured as a result of the sulfur trioxide leak. The leak occurred in a sulfuric acid production unit that was the subject of a major federal enforcement action. The company agreed in April to pay $2 million in fines for not upgrading pollution-control technology when it added equipment. DuPont officials initially estimated the leak at 300 to 400 pounds. Federal law requires notification of leaks of 100 pounds or more. Later, DuPont downgraded its estimate to about 18 pounds.


Austin Powder Co.ís plant explosion injured four works. The blast, at the companyís plant near McArthur, Ohio, was in a building where workers make detonating cord used in commercial blasting. All four injured workers were conscious and taken to hospitals. The cause of the explosion and identities of the injured are not available.


Lawsuit Settled

American Indians have settled a lawsuit against Continental Carbon Co. over a carbon black plant in Ponca City, Oklahoma for $10.5 million. The Ponca Tribe and about 1,800 land owners agreed to the settlement that was approved by a federal judge in Oklahoma City. Tribal members blamed the plant for polluting their property with a black dust. The plant produces a product used in tires and ink. Attorneys for the plant owners have argued the ConocoPhillips oil refinery in the area is responsible for the dust.

Plant Closure

Teijin Ltd. will shut down one of two polyester film plants in the U.S. that it is jointly operating with DuPont. The Florence, South Carolina plant will be closed by the end of 2010 in a move to consolidate polyester film production to the other plant in Hopewell, Virginia. The Hopewell plant has facilities suitable for developing green technologies and manufacturing eco-friendly products.


Air Separation Project

Samsung Engineering was awarded a $300 million project for an Air Separation Unit from National Industrial Gases Company (NIGC), the subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC). Located in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia, the air separation plant would produce 3,500 tons/day of gaseous oxygen, 3,600 tons/day of nitrogen and 150 tons/day of argon from compressed air through a cryogenic separation process. Samsung Engineering will execute the licensing, engineering, procurement and construction of the plant that is scheduled to be completed in 2011.



NewMarket Corp.ís Afton Chemical Corp. unit is investing in an Asia Pacific manufacturing facility to serve its customers in the region. The new plant will improve security of supply and provide short lead times. The Afton site will be located on Jurong Island, Singapore and will be operated by Chemical Specialties Singapore Ltd.

Petrochemical Complex

The Nitratos del Peru consortium of Peruís Brescia group and Chilean company Sigdo Koppers SA plans to start construction on a $650 million petrochemical project in southern Peru in the first quarter of 2010. The first plant will product ammonium nitrate.

Joint Venture

LG Chemical Ltd. has announced plans to join with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) in building a 300,000 ton/year Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) plant in South China. The ABS project will be built under a joint venture between the two companies on a 50-50 share holding basis. Construction will begin in the first half of 2010. The total investment for the project is estimated at $370 million. The first phase of the project is expected to start full operation in 2011 with an initial capacity of 150,000 tons, with the second phase scheduled for completion during 2013.

Talks Confirmed

Sinochem Corp. has confirmed it is in early stage discussions with Nufarm Ltd. about a potential takeover. Sinochem said these discussions were at a preliminary stage and incomplete and added that there was absolutely no certainty that matters would progress. Further announcements will only be made if there are material developments.


Sinopecís Nanshan Petrochemical plant, which was planned for the Nansha District of Guangdong Province, will be relocated due to fear of possible pollution. The decision to relocate was made after careful consideration. The plantís new location has not been announced but has already been selected by Sinopec.


Stake Acquisition

The Dow Chemical Co. and Petroliam Nasional Berhad have reached an agreement for Dowís Union Carbide Corp. subsidiary to sell its entire shares of ownership in the OPTIMAL Group of Companies to PETRONAS for $660 million. PETRONAS will fund this acquisition through internally generated funds. The transition is subject to customary conditions and approvals, but is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2009.

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