Hazmat teams worked to clean up after a chemical explosion at the International Flavors and Fragrances plant in Jacksonville, Florida. A 250,000 gallon tank of turpentine products, a little less than half full, caught on fire, causing a vapor explosion. Sixty firefighters and hazmat crews worked to put the fire out. It is still unclear what triggered the explosion. There were workers on top of the tank doing welding work when the tanks exploded, but they weren’t hurt. The only damage done was to the roof and surrounding trees.
Postponing Potash Mine
Vale SA says it is postponing a $3 billion potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada. The mine was to be developed near Kornau, a small community southeast of Regina. The mine was to employ more than 1,500 workers during construction and create up to 500 permanent jobs once opened. It was expected to produce up to 2.9 million metric tons of potash/year.
Mexichem SAB is considering a joint venture with Occidental Chemical Corp. to produce over half a million tons/year of ethylene to secure long-term supplies for its PVC plastics production. Mexichem signed a memorandum of understanding with Oxychem, a unit of Occidental Petroleum Corp, to build a cracker with a capacity of 544,000 tons/year of ethylene. A feasibility study for the new cracker is expected to be ready in the second quarter of 2013, and if the project goes ahead, the plant would go into operation in 2016. Most of the ethylene would be used by Oxychem at its Ingleside, Texas plant to produce 1 million metric tons/year of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), a raw material used in the production of PVC plastic, which it would then sell to Mexichem under a long-term supply contract.
Kuwait National Petroleum Company is going ahead with its long-delayed plan to build the Middle East’s largest oil refinery despite political tensions that have stalled many economic development plans. Next month, the government expects to announce the winner of the Al-Zour refinery’s project management and consultancy (PMC) contract. Five international engineering firms submitted bids for the PMC contract: Foster Wheeler, Fluor Corp., WorleyParsons, Technip, and Amec.
The operations at two Tata Chemicals Ltd. units were suspended from April 1, 2012 to July 3, 2012 due to disruption of supplies of Phos Acid. The Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) units at the company’s Halidia Plant have resumed operations.
Pipeline Fees Deal
Sudan and South Sudan have reached a deal on oil pipeline fees, a highly divisive issue that nearly drove the two countries to war this year. The Southern Sudanese have increased the amount they were willing to pay Sudan, which controls the pipelines for export. It is not clear exactly how much South Sudan is going to pay. The impact of an oil deal could be huge because the lack of oil production was driving inflation on both sides of the border and making both governments increasingly belligerent and edgy.