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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: January 7, 2010

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North America

Tank Explosion

A tank explosion at an American Acryl plant in Pasadena, Texas shook nearby homes, generated black smoke seen from miles away and injured two workers. Initially, residents in the area were ordered to remain indoors after the explosion because the tank contained toluene, a toxic petroleum by-product used in paint and gasoline. Two workers were taken to an area hospital as a precaution for inhalation injuries, were treated and later released. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.



Albemarle Corp. has successfully started up a new unit to produce SpectraSyn polyalphaolefins (PAO), a high viscosity base stock for lubricants, for ExxonMobil Chemical. The plantís 15,000 metric tons/year capacity was successfully rate tested in November. Albemarleís custom manufacturing business unit, Fine Chemistry Services, designed and built the facility using a combination of new and existing equipment at Albemarleís Pasadena, Texas production site.



Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has received a contract from Sasol to provide basic engineering services for the first commercial installation of Sasolís proprietary tetramerization technology. The initial commercial unit is expected to have a combined capacity for 1-octene and 1-hexene of 100,000 tons/year. The location for the first unit has not been determined and the contract value has not been disclosed. The basic engineering phase is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2010, with construction intended to begin in 2011 and initial production scheduled for 2013.


Ethylene Project

Sinopec has completed the construction of its Zhenhai, China ethylene project. The project involved a $3.4 billion investment and includes 10 sets of equipment and supportive facilities, resulting in a production capacity of 23 million tons of refining and 1 million tons of ethylene.



The Linde Group has won several key contracts for plant engineering and gas supply projects in Russia. Under the terms of the unrelated deals with a combined value of more than EUR 530 million, Linde will build two olefin plants and an air separation unit. A polypropylene plant with an annual capacity of 500,000 tons will be constructed in Tobolsk for Tobolsk-Polymer LLC for EUR 450 million. The plant is expected to go on stream in mid-2012. Linde will also plan and oversee the construction of a gas separation and ethylene plant in Novy Urengoy for Novy Urengoy Gas and Chemical Complex for EUR 47 million. The ethane cracker will have an annual capacity of around 420,000 tons of ethylene/year. Construction is already underway. Linde will supply ZAO with an on-site air separation unit for EUR 37 million. The facility will have a production capacity of 9,000 Nm3/h of gaseous oxygen and additional capacities for the production of liquefied gases.


Hydrogen Supply

Shanghai Chemical Industry Park Industrial Gases Company (SCIPIG), a 50/50 joint venture between Praxair Inc. and Air Liquide, was recently awarded a 15-year industrial gases pipeline supply contract from Bayer Polyurethanes Co., Ltd. Under the contract, SCIPIG will further develop its existing industrial gas network and build a new hydrogen and carbon monoxide plant, including a steam methane reforming unit and a carbon monoxide unit. The plant will have a total capacity of about 130,000 tons/year and is expected to start up at the beginning of 2012.


New Facility

Sika has signed a lease agreement with TechnoPark to construct a manufacturing and technical facility on a 30,000-square meter land area during the next year to develop, supply and support product sales in the Gulf region. The site will also house a Regional Technical Center for the entire Middle East, India and Africa region.


Customer Technical Center

3M will open its Customer Technical Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates later in 2010. The center will act as an innovative base for customers to test 3Mís products and solutions that are new to the Middle East market. It will also provide 3M with an expanded facility in the Middle East to better support customer needs across the region. This will be the companyís 23rd center.


Nuclear Plants

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has selected a team led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to design, build and help operate civil nuclear power plants for the United Arab Emiratesí peaceful nuclear energy program. The contract calls for the KEPCO team to design, build and help operate four 1,400 megawatt civil nuclear power units. The value of the contract for the construction, commissioning and fuel loads for four units is approximately $20 billion. The first of the four units is scheduled to begin providing electricity to the grid in 2017, with the three later units completed by 2020.   

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