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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: October 17, 2006

Technically Speaking

North America

ARKeX expanded its operations by opening its first
U.S. office and appointing an experience Operations Director.  The office is located in Houston, Texas and will serve the company’s expanding North American client base.  ARKeX appointed John Siegfried as Operations Director.  With more than 25 years’ industry experience, John will manage all aspects of Sales and Operations worldwide.  ARKeX provides gravity gradiometry within the oil and gas industry, enabling clients to quickly prioritize high grade prospects, reduce time to production and focus budgets toward a maximum return on assets.

Fine Chemicals Expansion
Arkema has expanded and improved the production of fine chemicals at its Carrollton, Kentucky facility for the oxo-alcohol and other intermediates markets.  Arkema has custom synthesis and manufacturing flexibility from pilot- to large-scale production, serving as a leader in the supply of specialty phosphines, Grignard reagents and organotin and antimony chemicals, including triphenylantimony.

Damages sought
Innospec is seeking more than $40 million from Ethyl in arbitration hearings in the London Court of International Arbitration.  Innospec alleges that the Richmond, Virginia-based Ethyl violated marketing agreements.  Innospec says it is also disputing the price it is allowed to charge Ethyl for TEL that is resold in the U.S.  The disputed amount exceeds more than $3 million/year.

Lawsuit rejected
Canada’s Nova Chemicals has rejected a claim by Dow Chemical that ethane feedstock supplies were wrongly diverted from their jointly owned Ethylene 3 facility in Joffre, Alberta.  Nova says that $120.9 million claim is completely without merit.

Taminco has acquired Air Products’ higher amines and methylamines business.  The business generated revenues of $310 million in fiscal year 2006, and includes plants in Pace, Florida, San Gabriel, Louisiana and Camacari, Brazil.  The business has 225 employees.

Nippon Paint has acquired the North American automotive coating business from chemical maker Rohm and Haas.  This $220 million acquisition includes all shares of two joint ventures.  Nippon Paint purchased Bee Chemical Company, a Rohm and Haas subsidiary, as well as NB Holdings, a subsidiary of Bee, as part of the deal.

Albermarle has acquired DSM’s South Haven, Michigan pharmaceuticals plant.  In Decemeber, DSM said it had decided to divest the plant.  The plant is focused on making generic active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Honeywell Resins & Chemicals is expanding production of caprolactam, a key raw material used in the production of nylon, at its Hopewell, Virginia plant.  The expansion, in combination with ongoing production improvements, is expected to boost caprolactam output by up to 10%.

Air Separation Unit
Airgas is building an air separation unit at Dow Corning’s Carrollton, Kentucky site to supply bulk and packaged gases to the silicon technology company.  The project is estimated to cost $30 million, making it Airgas’ largest single project to date.  The unit should be complete in late 2008 and will have the capacity to liquefy at least 318 tons/day of nitrogen, oxygen and argon.  Airgas and Down Corning signed a long-term agreement for gaseous nitrogen.

Protein Facility
SAFC plans to invest $16 million to expand cGMP protein purification capacity at its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.  This expansion will help meet growing demand for therapeutic proteins derived from plant- and animal-sourced starting materials.  When complete in 2007, the facility will be capable of handling more than 5,000 kilograms of biomass/week.  Completely separate plant and animal protein processing facilities will eliminate potential cross-contamination.


Aesica has acquired a chemical manufacturing facility from Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), the
UK subsidiary of Merck & Co.  The facility is located in Ponders End, United Kingdom.  Aescia has also entered into an agreement to supply intermediates and active ingredients to Merck.  This agreement has a potential revenue stream of $150 to 300 million.

DuPont has partnered with Zhangjiagang Glory Chemical Industry to produce and distribute its bio-based Sorona polymer throughout Asia.  The partnership is the first commercial manufacturing of Sorona in Asia.  The facility should start up this quarter, with plans to offer the first product in the second quarter of 2006.  One operational, the facility will produce 66 million pounds/year.

Wage Strike
Unionized employees at Yeochun Naphtha Cracking Center (YNCC), South Korea’s largest ethylene producer, are on strike over salary demands.  Despite the strike, operations at YNCC’s ethylene plants are unaffected.  The strike involves more than 600 union workers. Currently, several engineers are maintaining the operations of the plants. Depending on the length of the strike, plant operations may be hurt by either reduction of output of ethylene or forcing emergency shutdowns of the plants.  Any operating reduction rate at the plants could boost Asia’s olefins prices and in turn drag Asian naphtha prices.

Dresser, Inc. has relocated its Brazilian valve manufacturing plant from Jacarei to a new facility strategically located in Condominio Empresarial do Vale in Sao Jose dos Campos.  The new 56,000 square foot facility manufactures Dresser Masoneilan control valves and Dresser Consolidated pressure relief valves.  The facility provides manufacturing, assembly, testing, distribution, service and repair capabilities using lean manufacturing techniques and processes.  It will be ISO 9000 registered and ASME code compliant.

New Facility to Meet Plastics Demand
Rohm and Haas signed a letter of intent and is in the final planning discussions with POLISAN to construct a plastics additives acrylic impact modifier and processing aids manufacturing facility at the POLISAN site in Gebze, Turkey.  Establishing dedicated manufacturing here will enable the company to meet the increasing demand of the local market.  Rohm and Haas is in an existing partnership with POLISAN in Turkey for the manufacturing of emulsions for the paint market.  The proposed new facility will have a capacity of 40,000 million tons/year.

Nitrogen Trifluoride Plant
Air Products will build a nitrogen trifluoride plant in Ulsan, South Korea, to supply Asian semiconductor and liquid crystal display firms.  The facility will cost approximately $25 - $30 million and will be located at the Air Products Korea Electronics specialty gas site.  The plant is expected to be completed in late 2007 with a production capacity of more than 500 tons/year of nitrogen trifluoride, bringing the company’s global capacity to more than 2,500 tons/year.  Nitrogen trifluoride is used as a chamber-cleaning gas in the manufacture of semiconductors, flat panel displays and other electronic devices.

Medicinal Chemistry Facility
SAFC’s new 139,000 square-foot medicinal chemistry facility in Bangalore, India is now online.  The $12 million investment features more than 60,000 square feet of production and research and development space, including manufacturing suites for chemical development and production up to 50-liter scale.

Technically Speaking

What is a good correlation to estimate the density of a two-phase mixture that is mostly vapor or operating within the mist flow region?

Spink suggested the correlation below for qualities in the range of 0.82 to 1.0:

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