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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 the U.S. and India.  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 4, 2006

Technically Speaking


Propylene capacity
Enterprise Products Partners LP will invest $205 million to build a propylene fractionator at its Mont Belvieu, Texas complex.  This will boost the company's propylene/propane fractionation capacity by 1 billion pounds as well as expand two refinery-grade propylene gathering pipelines.  These projects should be complete by late 2007.

Westlake Chemical's planned 42-day turnaround at its Lake Charles, Louisiana ethylene cracker has been rescheduled for late June.  The work was originally scheduled for March and April.  The cracker is not being expanded, but is planned to be modified for feedstock flexibility.  The unit produces 545,000 tons/year of ethylene and currently uses mostly light feedstock.

Louisiana's industrial manufacturers are paying their fair share of hurricane recovery costs.  The state's Public Service Commission has declined to reconsider its February approval of an electricity surcharge, which industrial customers complained put too much of the burden on them.  The program allows Entergy, Louisiana's primary electricity provider, to recover $20 million from customers for repairs following hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  The average industrial plant's monthly electric bill is expected to jump $220,000.  The surcharge will be based on electricity usage, rather than a customer's use of the distribution network, which is the area of concern for the industrial companies – they use 50% of the state's electricity, but only 28% of the capital infrastructure.

New vinyl methyl ether plant
Dow Chemical Co. will use a new facility in Hahnville, Louisiana to produce vinyl methyl ether, currently produced at a plant in West Virginia that is slated for closure in 2008.  The new plant is scheduled to be built at the site of an existing chemical acrolein derivatives plant.  The South Charleston, West Virginia plant will be closed and demolished after the Louisiana facility opens.  The move is in an effort to cut costs by moving the vinyl methyl ether operation closer to where the raw materials used to produce it are manufactured.  Vinyl methyl ether is a product used in the production of water treatment products and preservatives.


License agreement
ABB has signed an agreement with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for the exclusive right to license the Indmax technology developed by IOC.  This technology maximizes the conversion of heavy oils to highly olefinic LPB, a mixture of hydrocarbons with three and/or four carbon atoms, thorugh a fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) process.

Supply contract
The Phosphate Chemicals Export Association Inc. (PhosChem) has entered into a diammonium phosphate (DAP) supply contract with India Potash Ltd (IPL).  Under this agreement, PhosChem will supply IPL with 330,000 metric tons of DAP.  The DAP will be shipped in six Panamax vessels to India between April and September at prices reflecting the market at the time of the shipment.

R&D center
Deepak Nitrite Ltd. (DNL) and the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will allow DNL and NCL to work closely together in identifying and pursuing R&D opportunities of mutual interest where fruitful and synergistic collaboration can be achieved.  As part of the MOU, DNL has set up a R&D center to leverage the expertise and facilities of NCL.

Methane production delayed
ONGC's coal bed methane production has been delayed.  ONGC is now expecting commercial production of CBM to being at least three months behind schedule in July 2007.  The postponement is a result of the delay in awarding contracts for integrated exploration and development in six blocks in Jharkhand and West Bengal.

New units
The ABB Group will establish a new Low Voltage Distribution Electricals Unit in Haridwar and a Vacuum Interrupter plant in Nashik in addition to the capacity expansion underway across businesses and locations.  ABB India is one of the Group's fastest growing operations today, with continued expansion in the plans. 

ABB Group's global Operation & Engineering Center in Bangalore has been inaugurated.  The center's main focus is to develop and execute system and engineering solutions for ABB's global automation business.  It also serves as a resource base for ABB units around the world.

Expansion approved
The Rs. 2,000-crore expansion and modernization plan of Kochi Refineries Ltd. has been cleared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.  The project includes capacity expansion from 7.5 million tons/year to 9.5 million tons/year at the refinery's existing facilities.  The modernization component includes upgrading the fuels to Euro III compliance levels, reducing sulfur in motor spirit to 150 parts/million and in high-speed diesel to 350 parts/million.  In addition, the project involves the set up of an effluent treatment plant for the additional wastewater that will be generated.

Technically Speaking

Where can I find a good online tool for calculating the volume inside a sloped vessel based on the liquid level?

This is a particularily interested task to undertake.  Luckily, it's been made easy by some good tools that are available.

Goto: and click on "Volumes" and then "Sloped".  You can enter the slope angle and calculate the volume inside your vessel for various liquid levels.  Very handy tool.

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