BHP Billiton Ltd. will buy Petrohawk Energy for $12.1 billion in cash, giving it greater access to U.S. shale gas assets. The acquisition will give BHP assets covering about one million acres in Texas and Louisiana, with an estimated 2011 production of 158,000 barrels of oil equivalent each day.
A chemical spill at the American Synthetic Rubber Company plant in Louisville, Kentucky injured one employee. Three employees came into contact with the toluene, but only one was taken to the hospital because it got into his eye. The spill was contained in one building of the plant and never posed a danger to the public. It could have been caused by a broken flange.
Olin Chlor Alkali Products has broken ground at its plant in Charleston, Tennessee for a membrane cell manufacturing facility. Olin is investing $160 million in the new facility, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012. When completed, the new facility will produce the highest quality chlorine, caustic soda and related products, with a capacity of 200,000 tons, including an expansion of the plant’s production of potassium hydroxide.
Ecolab Inc. has agreed to acquire Nalco Holding Co. for $8.1 billion. The transaction would result in Ecolab having a company with $10.4 billion in sales, 100 plants and 39,000 employees in 160 countries in total.
BASF will expand its presence in the Middle East by building a plant for customer specific antioxidant blends (CSB) in Bahrain. CSBs are key additives for the production of polymers for the plastics industry, especially in the Middle East. Construction of the new facility will start in September 2011. It will become one of the world’s largest CSB plants with an annual capacity of about 16,000 metric tons. The new plant will be operational by the end of 2012.
Praxair, Inc.’s German subsidiary has started up a new air separation unit at its complex in Hurth, Germany. With a capacity of 1,800 tons/day, the new facility more than doubles Praxair Deutschland’s total capacity at the site.
The Dow Chemical Co. and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. have formed a new joint venture and executed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at providing innovative and sustainable product solutions to the global high-performance flexible packaging, hygiene, and medical markets. Under the terms of the agreement, Mitsui would become a 50 percent equity interest partner in Dow’s sugar cane growing operation in Santa Vitoria, Brazil. The initial scope of the joint venture includes production of sugar cane-derived ethanol for use as a renewable feedstock source. The first phase of the project is the construction of a new sugar cane-to-ethanol production facility in Santa Vitoria, for which construction is expected to start in the third quarter of 2011.