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Dateline: September 20, 2005

Chemical Industy News from the U.S.
Chemical Industry News from India
Technically Speaking

Chemical Industry News from the U.S.

Expansion complete
Agus Chemical Company has completed its multi-million dollar expansion of its production site in Sterlington, Louisiana.  The expansion will help boost the volume of several of the company's products, including 2NP and AMP-95 dispersant. 

World's largest PET plant
Eastman Chemical is mulling plans to build the world's largest polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant.  Its Columbia, South Carolina 350,000 tons/year, $100 million plant, based on the company's IntegRex technology, is on schedule for completion during the first quarter of 2007.  However, Eastman is mulling an even larger IntegRex PET plant that would come on line by 2009.  The new facility with a planned capacity of 700,000 tons would be the largest PET facility in the world.  Eastman believes the IntegRex process could cut PET conversion and capital costs by 50 percent, drastically changing a market with historically low barriers to entry.

Successful production of oil from shale
Chattanooga Corp. successfully tested its revolutionary new technology designed to directly process oil shale and oil sand to high-grade, low sulfur, synthetic crude oil.  The patented Chattanooga Process technology produced synthetic crude oil from Colorado oil shale and has now been shown to be commercially viable.  This new process provides to offer significant economic and environmental benefits when compared with current processing technologies, including lower capital and operating costs, which should help reduce the United States' dependence on foreign oil suppliers.  In addition, the technology is also designed for applications as an upgrader for various oil sources.  The technology uses a specially designed reactor that is heated and pressurized by recycled hot hydrogen that is replenished as reactions take place.

Chemical Industry News from India

Expansion plans approved
SAL Steel Ltd.'s Board of Directors approved of around Rs18 billion at the existing site at Gandhidham.  With two additional phases in the expansion, the Board is proposing adding one million tons of steel melting capacity.

Temporary shutdown
National Fertilizers Ltd. has decided to temporarily shutdown its calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) plant in Nangal.  Production is being stopped due to the non-availability of ammonia because of economic unviability.  The employees of this plant will be used at other units of the Nangal plant.  This stop will reduce the availability of CAN from Nangal by about 13,800 tons, but the shortfall is expected to be made up by increased supplies from other sources as CAN is a deregulated and decontrolled fertilizer.

Micro-nutrient fertilizer market entry
As part of its diversification program, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. plants to enter the micro-nutrient fertilizer market.  This decision depends on the government's revision of its agriculture policy to include micro-nutrient fertilizers in the fertilizer control order.  Despite not knowing when this approval will be granted, the company is making preparations to begin production as soon as the policy is revised.

Plant revival
The Department of Fertilizers has appointed FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals Ltd. (FAGMIL) as a consultant to examine the possibility of reviving the Amjhore unit of Pyrites, Phosphates & Chemicals Ltd. (PPCL).  PPCL was setup in 1960 for the exploration and exploitation of import substitute pyrites and rock phosphate ore deposits for the production of fertilizers.  FAGMIL is reviewing the operations to determine if the unit can be handed over to either one or two separate companies as well as the return if an investment were made to revive the unit.

Technically Speaking

How can we prevent the cracking of carbon steel welds in a refinery environment?

Where carbon steel is an appropriate material of construction, NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) has issued the following standard:

NACE RP0472, "Methods and controls to prevent in-service environmental cracking of carbon-steel weldments in corrosive petroeum refining environments."

For welds where hardness testing is required, RP0472 give the following guidelines:

A.  Testing shall be taken with a portable Brinell hardness tester. Test technique guidelines are given in an appendix in the standard.

B.  Testing shall be done on the process side whenever possible.

C.  For vessel or tank butt welds, one test per 10 feet of seam with a minimum of one location per seam is required. One test shall be done on each nozzle flange-to-neck and nozzle neck-to-shell (or neck-to-head) weld.

D.  A percentage of helping welds shall be tested (5 percent minimum is suggested).

E. Testing of fillet welds should be done when feasible (with the testing frequency similar to the butt welds).

F.  Each welding procedure used shall be tested.

G.  Welds that exceed 200 Brinell shall be heat treated or removed.

Reference: Chemical Processing, May 2001 


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