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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: July 11, 2006

Technically Speaking

North America

Butadiene sale closed
Huntsman has closed the sale of its U.S. butadiene and MTBE business to Texas Petrochemical.  The deal included a Port Neches, Texas manufacturing facility.  The sale closed for a total of $262 million, with $70 million to be paid upon restart of the company’s Port Arthur, Texas olefins unit and related resumption of crude butadiene to Texas Petrochemical.
Nutrition platform expanded
Lonza has launched an arabinogalactan nutritional product called FiberAid.  After acquiring the arabinogalactan business assets from Minnesota-based Larex in May, Lonza further expanded its nutrition businesses within its organic fine and performance chemicals division.  The new FiberAid ingredient is an all-natural, soluble prebiotic dietary fiber.  It resists earlier stages of digestion and is slowly fermented in the large intestine.  As a result, the ingredient can deliver gastrointestinal benefits, including increased lactobacillus and total anaerobes.
Styrenics restructuring
Nova Chemicals will combine its styrene monomer and solid polystyrene assets in North America with its European joint venture interests to form a separate business unit called Styrenix.  Nova Chemicals will also explore options for the unit including joint ventures or a sale.  As a result of the restructuring, the company will save $50 million/year in addition to the $15 million that will be saved from the closure of its polystyrene plant in Chesapeake, Virginia.  Most of the changes will take place in the third quarter.  As a result of these changes, the company will eliminate 375 positions – 125 from the closure of the Virginia plant and 250 from the restructuring.  Styrenix will include the company’s styrene monomer production facilities in Bayport, Texas and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada; polystyrene plants in Decatur, Alabama, Springfield, Massachusetts, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and its interest in the European joint venture with Ineos, Nova Innovene.
Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act Passed
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2006 by a strong bipartisan vote of 232 to 187.  Voting for the measure were 40 Democrats and 192 Republicans.  The Act creates a comprehensive Outer Continental Shelf energy policy is compromise legislation crated by U.S. Representatives John Peterson (Republican – Pennsylvania), Neil Abercrombie (Democrat – Hawaii), Bobby Jindal (Republican – Louisiana), and Charlie Melancon (Democrat – Louisiana).  The Act is awaiting decision from the U.S. Senate, but is seen as a strong step forward in supporting U.S. jobs, competitiveness and energy security.  


Joint venture
Ciba Specialty Chemical (India) Ltd. has signed a joint venture agreement with Virchow Group, Hyderabad, for the production of high-quality Triclosan, a highly efficacious, long-lasting antimicrobial ingredient.  Triclosan helps to prevent the occurrence of oral infection, germ transfer, body odor and material decay.  It is used in a variety of products including toothpaste, soap, deodorants and non-cosmetic articles like shower curtains and technical textiles.  Under the agreement, Ciba Specialty is the majority owner with 51% stake in the new joint venture company.  Triclosan will be produced for the domestic market as well as other Asian markets.
Soda ash unit purchase
GHCL Ltd. is set to acquire a second loss-making synthetic soda ash unit in Romania for around $24 million.  The acquisition of the 300,000 ton/year unit currently being run by a Romanian Government agency will be made through a deferred payment plan.  After the acquisition, GHCL would be the only manufacturer of synthetic soda ash in Romania and would gain access to the eastern and central European markets.
Potential U.S. expansion
GHCL is eyeing acquisitions in the U.S. and is in the midst of talks with two natural soda ash companies.  However, after the recent hardening of natural soda ash in the international markets, the price for the acquisition has been marked up, delaying the conclusion of the deal.  With the minor exception of Kenya, natural soda ash is produced only in the U.S. and it has a premium market worldwide.  If successful in acquiring a U.S. unit, GHCL would be a member of a prime league in the global industrial chemical markets.
Capacity expansion
U.S.-based Huntsman is planning to expand the capacity of Petro Araldite P. Ltd., the joint venture subsidiary in Chennai.  Through an investment of more than $10 million planned for the next couple of years, the Chennai facility would become a global sourcing point for the group as well as the production facility for new products for markets like China and West Asia.
Petrochemical complex
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has invested Rs. 4,900-crore in a 1 million ton/year capacity aromatic complex in Mangalore.  The complex would be executed through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of ONGC – the oil and gas major would hold 46% stake in the SPV, while its subsidiary, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), would have 3%.  The balance would be with financial institutions and banks.
Capacity expansion
Sakata Inx (India) Ltd., a 100% subsidiary of the Japanese ink manufacturer, Saka Inx Corporation, is investing Rs. 60-crore to set up a new facility in India that will be used for global sourcing.  The new printing ink factory will start production within the next three years a site the company has secured in an industrial estate in Bharuch, Gujarat.  The investment will be made in two phases with the plant fully operational by 2009.  The plant will produce high-quality gravure printing inks and will supply the domestic market as well as act as an export base for emerging markets like the Middle East and Africa.
Crude oil discovery
Reliance Industries Ltd. has struck crude oil at the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.  The crude oil was discovered in the MA1 well in the deep water D6 Block in the KG basin.

Technically Speaking

What is the best way to controll a positive displacement pump?

Well, the short answer is, NOT the same way that you control a centrifuge pump.   You cannot simply throttle or valve the suction or discharge side of a positive displacement (PD) pump and expect any results.

Rather, a bypass containing a control valve is installed at the discharge of the PD pump running back to the pump source.  A flowmeter downstream of the bypass can then signal the bypass valve to open or close thereby reducing or increasing the flow in the main line.

You can learn even more about controlling PD pumps at:

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