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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 31, 2006

Technically Speaking

North America

Single distributor
Rohm and Haas has moved to a single U.S. distributor for its North American architectural and functional coatings business, effective January 1.  Chemcentral, whom Rohm and Haas has had a 10-year-plus relationship with, will be the single distributor.

Carbon Credits
Cemtrex will expand the scope of its activities in the carbon credits market to include energy efficiency projects.  These projects include refurbishment of power plants, combined cycle turbines, improvements of heating plants, process heat recovery, and facility space heating and lighting.
Titanium Tetrachloride Supply
DuPont will supply up to 100 million pounds of high purity titanium tetrachloride annually to Allegheny’s new titanium metal plant in Toole County, Utah.  The new facility will make approximately 10,000 tons of titanium metal each year.  DuPont plans to invest $30 million in its New Johnsonville, Tennessee titanium dioxide plant to install a new purification unit to make titanium tetrachloride.  The new unit should begin operations in the summer of 2008.  Because of its titanium dioxide manufacturing technology, DuPont will be able to increase titanium tetrachloride production without affecting the company’s capacity to produce titanium dioxide at New Johnsonville.
HBr facility
Albemarle Corporation has added a production and packaging unit for merchant sales of industrial-grade N28 anhydrous Hydrogen Bromide (HBr) in Magnolia, Arkansas.  Qualification samples from the unit should be available before the end of October, with packaging and shipping of the product to customers to begin in December.  Anydrous HBr is used in the synthesis of fine chemicals as well as for plasma etching in the electronics industry.
Hydrogen Fueling
Air Products’ hydrogen fueling technology is in use at BP’s dedicated new hydrogen fueling station at the NextEnergyCenter in Detroit, Michigan.  The station is part of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) project designed to facilitate the field-testing of fuel cell vehicles and fueling infrastructure in the U.S.  The BP hydrogen station features Air Products’ hydrogen fueling technology that is now in place in more than 50 fueling stations worldwide.  The hydrogen fueling facility in Detroit has the capacity to store 50 kilograms of hydrogen and dispense 20 to 40 kilograms of hydrogen/day.  The BP station will supply fuel to DaimlerChrysler fuel cell vehicles.

Bio units purchased
Lonza acquired Cambrex’s Bioproducts and Biopharma subsidiaries in a cash deal worth $460 million, marking the largest acquisition in Lonza’s history to date.  The acquisition will close in the first quarter of 2007 and is expected to grow sales 8% to 12% a year, with EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) growth in the mid- to high teens.  This growth should sustain through to 2012.

Plant upgrades
Lonza is upgrading its Portsmouth, New Hampshire biopharmaceutical facility.  It expects to start new Phase II/Phase III mid-scale mammalian cell culture tanks in 2008 (1 x 5,000 liters) and 2009 (4 – 6 x 5,000 liters).  In addition, it will start up large-scale capacity in 2009 with four 20,000 liter mammalian cell culture tanks in Singapore.  Lonza also plans to upgrade its Visp, Switzerland facility with a new 15,000 liter microbial fermentation tank.


Gas Arm
In November, Showa Denko is starting full-scale marketing of its specialty gases for the South Korean market through its wholly owned subsidiary, Korea Showa Chemicals (KSC).  KSC will focus its operations on the growing semiconductor and liquid crystal display market in South Korea.  It will also build a specialty gas storage facility in Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do by the first half of 2007.
Facilities to be sold
Cambrex has agreed to sell two active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and advanced intermediates facilities to International Chemical Investors II in Luxembourg for an undisclosed amount.  The plants are located in Cork, Ireland and Landen, Belgium, and posted $40.4 million of sales in 2005.

Joint venture
GAIL (India) Ltd. is setting up a $1.2 billion gas cracker complex at Lapetkata in Assam state through a joint venture with Oil India Ltd. (OIL), Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. (NRL) and the Assam state government.  The three partners would hold a combined equity stake of 30% and GAIL would hold the remaining 70%.  The project would take five years to complete and will not start until the necessary funds are acquired.  Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) and OIL would supply natural gas.  NRL would provide naphtha feedstock for the cracker.  The planned facility would have annual capacities of 220,000 tons of ethylene, 60,000 tons of propylene, 55,000 tons of pyrolysis gasoline and 12,500 tons of fuel oil.
Proposed petrochemical project
ExxonMobil Chemical Qatar and Qatar Petroleum are further studying a proposed $3 billion petrochemical complex project at Ras Laffan.  A statement of intent was signed in June 2004 by the two companies to conduct a feasibility study for the project.  Progress has been made and both parties agree the proposed project would bring them benefits and a platform for growth.  The project would include a 1.3 ton/year ethane-based cracker and derivative units to produce polyethylene (PE) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) for Asia and Europe.  The facility would use gas from Qatar’s north field.  Expected start up is 2012.

Australian-based chemicals and mining firm, Orica, will acquire UK-based Minova for $646.2 million to expand its mining services business.  Minova provides chemical products for the mining and civil engineering industries, including resin capsules, powders and injection chemicals used in ground consolidation, ventilation systems and strata support.

Textiles investment
Huntsman will spend $150 million over the next three years to restructure its Textile Effects business that it acquired from Ciba Specialty Chemicals in June.  Operations will be significantly expanded in Asia with consolidates occurring in the Americas and in Europe.  The company will open a technical center in Qingdao, China as well as two new formulation and distribution centers in China.

Technically Speaking

What is the definition of the schedule number when referring to piping and fittings?

The American National Standards Institute established the schedule number system for pipes and fittings according to the following formula:

Schedule Number = (1000)(P/S)

where P = internal working pressure in psig
S = allowable stress of piping material at operating conditions in psi

Altogether, there are eleven different schedule numbers: 5,10,20,30,40,60,80,100,120,140,and 160

In practice, Schedule 40 (and sometime 80) are by far the most common schedule numbers used. The schedule number determines the wall thickness of the piping.

As an example, consider a piece of ordinary steel pipe to be used at a working pressure of 350 psig. At the design conditions of the service, the allowable stress is 10,000 psi:

Schedule Number = (1000)(350/10000) = 35 (so schedule 40 is used)

This would be the correct schedule for welded joints and steel fittings, but not for threaded connections (engraving the threads weakens the pipe and threaded connections have to be examined on a separate basis).

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