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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: April 28, 2009

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North America

Explosion Aftermath

Safety lapses led to a runaway chemical reaction that caused a fatal blast at a Bayer CropScience chemical plant last August. The explosion came close to compromising a tank holding methyl isocyanate, or MIC, the chemical that killed thousands of people in Bhopal, India when it leaked from a former Union Carbide plant in 1984. Carbide once operated the West Virginia plant, which is now owned by Bayer CropScience. The company has made improvements since the explosion and says that its top priority remains the safety of workers and the nearby community.


Potential BPA Ban

Connecticut has moved a step closer to banning the sale of plastic baby bottles, food containers and cups containing bisphenol-A, BPA, that have been restricted in Canada and some scientists says is a health threat. The state’s legislative committee unanimously endorsed restrictions on making, selling or distributing products in Connecticut with BPA. If approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor, the law would phase in restrictions during the next few years to prohibit making, selling or distributing baby bottles and certain other products made with BPA. Warnings labels also would be required on all food products that come in containers made with BPA and sold in Connecticut.


Fine Proposed

Federal officials want to fine Indspec Chemical Corp. $121,500 for a toxic leak that forced hundreds of residents to evacuate in October. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the company committed 27 serious safety violations when oleum leaked at its plant in Petrolia, Pennsylvania. The acid cloud forced 2,500 people, within a three-mile radius of the plant, from their homes for a day. Indspec has 15 business days to comply with or contest the proposed fines.


Chemical Plant Blast

An explosion at the SantoLubes LLC plant in St. Charles, Missouri, has left one worker burned and the plant badly damaged. The explosion occurred in a building that housed several chemicals used to produce insecticides. The blast happened almost immediately after workers began a mixing process. At least half of the structure was in flames when firefighters arrived. The injured worker was able to escape the fire on his own and was hospitalized with burns over at least 30 percent of his body.

Capacity Addition

BASF Catalysts has completed a significant de-bottlenecking and expansion project to meet the growing global demand for its current and new polypropylene catalysts. The increased capacity is specifically targeted for producing the company’s LYNX polypropylene catalyst at its facility in Pasadena, Texas. The LYNX technologies are utilized commercially in most major polypropylene process technologies, including slurry, bulk loop, stirred gas, fluid gas, and stirred bulk. The Pasadena site manufactures and distributes polyolefin catalysts for the chemical industry and is also engaged in the development of new catalyst manufacturing processes and the production of developmental quantities of new catalysts.         


Ultra-low Aromatic Fluid

ExxonMobil Chemical has applied proprietary catalyst hydrogenation technology to introduce its Ultra-low Aromatic (ULA) product family. The technology enables the production of ULA fluids that comply with the most stringent environmental and regulatory requirements, ensuring that ExxonMobil customers will be able to access a ULA solution for their markets as the need arises. The first products of the ULA fluid family are Escaid 120 ULA for oil drilling applications and Exxsol D100 ULA for water  treatment. They are pre-registered under REACH EU regulation.


Coal Chemical Project Restrictions

The Chinese central government will strictly control the total number of coal chemical projects as well as eliminate the efficient technologies and production capacity. Any new coal-to-oil project will not be approved in a short period of time. China depends more and more on coal and petroleum, but the domestic coal chemical industry causes negative influence on the remission reduction and ecological environment protection. The country is set to encourage more sizable environmental-friendly coal chemical projects. A batch of small-sized chemical producers will be closed down in succession.


Joint Venture

HaiKe Chemical Group Ltd. has entered into a joint venture with Xindu Group Company Ltd. and Jindayuan Real Estate Company Ltd. HaiKe’s principal goal from the joint venture is to increase the production and sale of its petrochemical products. The initial investment is RMB 400 million. The joint venture is part of the Chinese Central Government’s plan to vertically integrate petrochemical businesses to encourage further growth and efficiency in the sector. Ruilin will produce and sell gasoline, diesel oil, liquefied gas, asphalt and heavy oil domestically. It will be located three miles from Dongying Port.

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