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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: September 15, 2009

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North America

Plant Closure

The Dow Chemical Co. will close styrene monomer and ethylbenzene plants at its site in Freeport, Texas by the end of the year. The closures are part of a broad restructuring plant the company announced at the end of June 2009, which is designed to right-size Dow’s manufacturing footprint and reduce exposure to its capital intensive basics portfolio.

Clean Water Act Violations

For the second time in less than a year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited Shell Chemical Yabucoa in Puerto Rico for violating the federal Clean Water Act. For this most recent violation, the EPA has issued a complaint with a proposed penalty of $153,057 as well as a compliance order. The complaint alleges that Shell violated the Clean Water Act by improperly maintaining its deep ocean outfall equipment and discharging unauthorized pollutants. The compliance order requires Shell to remedy the violations. While Shell has a permit that allows it to discharge treated storm water, wastewater, and sewage-related wastewater from a deep ocean outfall, the complaint alleges that Shell violated the permit in two ways. First, it unlawfully discharged pollutants into navigable waters for 14 days without authorization. And, second, it did not properly operate and maintain the diffuser pipeline for 105 days.


Unit Sale

Spartech Corp. has agreed to sell its profiles extrusion business in Canada to Acrylon Plastics Inc. In addition, it will close its compounding operation in Lockport, New York. The profiles extrusion business is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba and has annual sales of about $9 million. The deal is expected to close in October. The current compounding operations in Lockport will be consolidated into other existing company facilities.


Pilot Plant

Alstom and The Dow Chemical Company have started up a pilot plant to capture CO2 from the flue gas of a coal-fired boiler at a Dow-owned facility in South Charleston, West Virginia. The pilot plant uses proprietary advanced-amine technology jointly developed by Alstom and Dow to capture approximately 1,800 metric tons of CO2/year. The pilot will operate for the next two years in order to gather data that can be used to optimize this technology for implementation at coal-fired power plants around the world.


Polypropylene Plant

Samsung Total Petrochemicals Co. has completed construction of its polypropylene plant in Dongguan, China. The plant can produce 28,000 tons of polypropylene/year, used mainly in making auto parts and electronic components.

Sulfuric Acid Plant Contract

China Energy Recovery, Inc. has won a new EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract to construct a sulfuric acid plant with a built-in waste heat recovery system for Tianjin Qinfa Chemical. The total contract value is approximately $4.47 million. The new plant will be designed to produce 200,000 tons of sulfuric acid annually and generate 29 tons of steam/hour from waste heat energy capture during production. Part of the steam will be used to generate electricity and the rest will be used directly.


BASF is restructuring its production of polyamide 6 in Europe. The production will be bundled at BASF’s two Verbund sites in Antwerp, Belgium, and Ludwigshafen, Germany. The production of polyamide 6 at Rudolstadt, Germany will be discontinued at the end of 2010. This change will result in the loss of 58 positions in Germany. BASF will continue to operate a compounding plant for the production of engineering plastics in Rudolstadt. In Ludwigshafen, production will focus on higher margin products, which will result in the optimization of production processes and reduce production capacity, eliminating 19 positions. The affected employees will be offered other positions at the site.


Facility Closure

Huntsman Corp. has completed an internal review of the styrenics operations owned by Huntsman Chemical Company Australia Pty Ltd. The company has decided to close the facility in West Footscray, Australia. Products produced at the site represent less than two percent of Huntsman’s 2008 global sales. The company expects to stop operation of the styrene plant at the end of 2009 and then close its polystyrene and expandable polystyrene plants in early 2010.


New Plant

Total is building a plant for its brand Bostik, an adhesives and sealants manufacturer, in Corlu, Turkey. Turkey will become a production base in the region for Bostik in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The company’s operations will shift to Turkey from France and Germany after the plant is completed in 2011.


Ecolab Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government to expand its presence in China by establishing a China holding company/regional headquarters in Shanghai. Ecolab committed to making incremental investments of $30 million in China, with additional investments to follow as the business expands. The expansion will include additional manufacturing, research and development projects and technology platform upgrades.

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