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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: February 4, 2010

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North America


The Exxon Mobil chemical plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana has started work on expanding production of isopropyl alcohol. The solvent is used extensively in personal care products, pharmaceuticals, coatings, cleaning products for electronics and as a component for making agricultural chemicals.


Arkema and The Dow Chemical Co. have closed Dow’s divestiture to Arkema of its acrylic acid and esters business in Clear Lake, Texas and its UCAR Emulsion and specialty latex business in North America. The transaction has a fair value consideration of $50 million.


Trade Group Reinvention

The Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association has reinvented itself as the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada to reflect the changing face of the chemistry sector and its renewed commitment to environmental sustainability. In addition to chemical manufacturing, the sector now produces bio-based compounds, new technologies and “green” chemistry solutions. The Association has expanded its membership to include new players committed to the Responsible Care ethic and principles.

EPA Approval

Monsanto has received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the sales of a new formulation of acetochlor for early post-emergence use in cotton and soybeans. The product will be marketed as MON 63410 Herbicide for the 2010 growing season. Upon receipt of state regulations and approvals, it will be introduced for those areas that have had resistance and other control problems with Palmer amaranth and tall waterhemp.


Calgon Carbon Corporation has acquired the outstanding stock of Hyde Marine Inc., a manufacturer of systems that utilize ultraviolet light technology to treat marine ballast water. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. A company official said that while it is a small acquisition, it is strategic in broadening Calgon Carbon’s knowledge base and experience in using ultraviolet technology to treat water. In addition, it provides immediate entry into a global, legislative-driven market with growth potential.


Sunoco plans to sell its chemical unit to Braskem SA for about $350 million in cash. The move is part of Sunoco’s efforts to shed non-core assets, improve returns on invested capital and funnel sale proceeds to more strategic parts of the business. The deal fits into Braskem’s international expansion strategy. The sale includes subsidiary Sunoco Chemicals Inc., based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is comprised of its polypropylene business. The sale includes manufacturing facilities in La Porte, Texas; Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania; and Neal, West Virginia. In total, these plants have the combined capacity to make about 2.1 billion pounds of polypropylene/year. The sale also includes Sunoco’s research and technology center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Plant Closure

Sunoco has permanently shut down its previously idled Eagle Point refinery in Westville, New Jersey. The closure is due to continued weak demand for refined products and tough market conditions. The refinery was idled in early November 2009. The company’s refined product storage and handling operations at the location will continue.

R&D Facility

Monsanto will establish a research-and-development operation in Kannapolis, North Carolina within six months. The company has signed a long-term lease and plans an 11,000 square-foot lab. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Distribution Center

The Dow Chemical Company and Menlo Worldwide Logistics have opened a new 134,000-square-foot warehousing and distribution operation in Bay City, Michigan. The property recently underwent a major renovation and upgrade, which converted the building into a modern, energy-efficient, purpose-designed facility that will provide strategic warehousing and distribution services for Dow Wolf Cellulosics products manufactured at Dow Michigan Operations in Midland, Michigan.


Plant Upgrade

GE Oil & Gas will apply advanced compressor technology in an upgrade to increase the productivity of Krishak Bharati Cooperative Limited’s (KRIBHCO) urea, ammonia and bio-fertilizer manufacturing facility in Hazira, India. GE will supply nine compressor upgrade packages to be installed across the plant’s three existing CO2 trains. The contract, which also includes the supply of anti-surge valves and spare rotors, is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2011.


Engineering Services

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has received a two-and-a-half year contract from LyondellBasell to provide engineering services in support of plant changes and small project work at two of its manufacturing sites in Botlek and Maasvlakte, The Netherlands. The services will be provided from Jacobs’ nearby office in Hoogvliet.

Engineering Hub

A subsidiary of Foster Wheeler AG’s Global Engineering and Construction Group has signed a joint venture agreement to form a jointly owned Saudi Arabian entity with A. Al-Saihati, A. Fattani and O. Al-Othman Consulting Engineering Company (SOFCON) in Saudi Arabia. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The new entity is planned as a regionally engineering hub and will be based in Al-Khobar. Foster Wheeler SOFCON will focus on providing full-service engineering and project management services for onshore/offshore oil and gas, refining, petrochemicals and associated infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia.



Samsung Total Petrochemicals Co. plans to expand the energy sector of its business lines during the next three years. The company plans to transform itself from a petrochemical company to an energy and chemical one. Samsung Total is in the process of building a plant in Daesan, South Korea to produce oil for airplanes and ships and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tank. The plant is slated to be completed in August and the company will be able to export 500,000 tons of jet oil and 100,000 tons of ship oil to China and Singapore annually.

Integrated Gas Development Project

GE Oil & Gas has been awarded a contract worth more than $200 million by Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company to supply eight gas turbines and related services for the Abu Dhabi Gas Industries integrated gas development project in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Supporting the government’s initiative to meet the rising demand for energy within the Emirate, the project is one of the largest gas processing complexes in the world. The gas turbines are scheduled for shipment during the first half of 2011, with commercial operation at the facility expected by the end of 2012.  

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