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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: December 8, 2010

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North America

Fatal Ammonia Release

CF Industries Holdings Inc. said a fatal release of anhydrous ammonia at its Pine Bend, Minnesota terminal killed one truck driver and injured another. The released ammonia eventually dissipated and did not prevent a hazard to the community. Officials and company personnel have launched a full investigation of the accident, which occurred during loading operations.


Unit Sale

Dow Chemical Co. will sell its powder coatings business to Akzo Nobel NV for an undisclosed amount. The move advances the company’s strategy of shedding non-core assets in an effort to reduce debt from its $16.5 billion acquisition of Rohm and Haas in April. The sale is expected to close in the second quarter of 2010.


Asset Sale

Dow Chemical Co. plans to sell more assets in 2010 as it continues to work toward paying off debt from its $16.5 billion acquisition of Rohm and Haas in April. Including its recent announcement to sell its powder coatings business (see above story in this edition of ChExpress), Dow said its divestiture activities are on target to yield more than $3.5 billion in gross proceeds.


Air Products has completed the sale of the assets of its polyurethane pre-polymers business, marketed under the Airthane and Versathane trade names, to COIM USA Inc. Included in the sale was Air Products’ manufacturing facility in Paulsboro, New Jersey. Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.


Production Halt

Solutia, Inc. says low-cost competition has forced it to discontinue manufacturing at a plant in Cologne, Germany. Taminco N.C. will acquire some assets and contracts to continue producing the chemicals used by the rubber industry. The specific chemicals are tetramethylthiuram disulfide (TMTD) and tetraethylthiuram disulfide (TETD). Solutia will continue to produce the chemicals for Taminco during a transition through the end of the first quarter of next year.


Job Cuts

Clariant AG is cutting about 570 jobs and closing factories in France, Britain and Mexico. The job cuts will help Clariant further optimize its global production network in order to address overcapacities and reduce costs. Production sites in Huningue, France; Pontypridd, Britain; and Cuernavaca, Mexico have been marked for closure. Parts of two plants in Germany will also be shut and the company is evaluating the future of its site in Onsan, South Korea.

Air Spearation Plant

Praxair China has successfully started up its large air separation plant for Jiangsu SOPO Co., Ltd. in Zhenjiang, China. Praxair is supplying gases to the customer. The plant supplies industrial gas for the 600,000 tons/year acetic acid plant of SOPO.


Production Boost

LG Chem, Ltd. has selected UOP LLC distillation and mass transfer equipment to increase ethylene production at its petrochemical plant in Yeosu, South Korea. LG will also use UOP’s SimulFlow technology to increase throughput of feedstock, allowing the company to increase its current ethylene production once the unit comes on line in 2010.


Research and Tech Support Center

Nalco has opened a new research and development facility in Campinas, Brazil. The $2 million facility will serve water, process and energy customers throughout the Latin America region. The location was selected due to its proximity to many research centers and universities and the research facilities of several of Nalco’s customers. The facility will support customers in the paper industry, sugar, food and grains, and energy production, working with the company’s research centers in Sugar Land, Texas and Naperville, Illinois.


Refinery and Petrochemical Complex Order

Alfa Laval has received an order for Alfa Laval Packinox heat exchangers for an integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in China. The order value is approximately 90 MSEK and delivery is scheduled for 2010. The units will be used in the production of mixed Xylene at a new aromatics plant at the complex.


Capacity Reduction

LyondellBasell will shut down one polypropylene line in Wesseling, Germany by the end of the year. As a result, polypropylene capacity at the site will be reduced by 110 kilotons. The company has concluded that its current operating rate is no longer economically viable. The affected line is one of the smallest and oldest polypropylene units the company has and it continues to invest in state-of-the-art facilities.

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