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Chexpress - August 23, 2011

North America

Approval Granted

Ashland has gained EU approval for its $3.2 billion purchase of International Specialty Products Inc. to reinforce its range of products. The European Commission said the purchase did not raise significant competition concerns, and the merged company would continue to face competition from a number of rival suppliers.


The owners of a Massachusetts chemical plant that exploded in 2006 have agreed to pay the federal government $1.3 million to help cover the cost of cleaning up the hazardous waste that was left behind. The action resolves the claim against former operator CAI Inc. and property owners Sartorelli Realty LLC and Roy Nelson of Nelson Danvers Realty Trust.


Valero is in the process of restarting units at its Memphis refinery, which was shutdown on Aug. 5 due to a fire in a crude distillation unit. The restart will begin with one of the crude distillation units. The other crude distillation unit is expected to be restarted by September.

Oil Terminal

Vitol Midstream LLC and Blueknight Energy Partners, L.P. have entered into agreements for the construction and operation of a new crude oil terminal in Midland, Texas. Vitol Midstream has acquired 90 acres in Midland County where it will construct a new storage terminal and unloading stations for trucks. The Vitol Midstream site will be connected by pipeline to the major crude oil terminals in Midland. The initial construction phase will consist of 1,000,000 barrels of crude oil storage with six truck unloading stations. Blueknight will coordinate and supervise the engineering and construction stages of the design. In addition, the two companies have also entered into an agreement for BKEP to operate and maintain the new facility and all connecting pipelines.


Raw Materials

BASF will invest in a world-scale production site for acrylic acid, butyl acrylate and superabsorbent polymers (SAP) in Camacari, Bahia, Brazil. It will be the first acrylic acide and superabsorbents plant in South America. BASF will also start to produce 2-ethyl-hexyl acrylate, an important raw material for the adhesives and special coatings industries, in its existing chemical complex in Guaratingueta, Sao Paulo. This will be the first plant for this product in South America. Braskem will serve as the strategic supplier for BASF.

Plant Closure

Thousands of protesters scuffled with police in a demonstration that prompted authorities to meet their demand and shut down a petrochemical factory in Dalian, China. After a day of protests, Dalian police pledged to move the Fujia chemical plant out of the city and ordered its immediate shutdown. Calls to relocate the plant grew after waves from Tropical Storm Muifa broke a dike guarding it last week and raised fears that flood waters could release toxic chemicals. There was no actual chemical leak.

Closure of Pressure Tanks

Taiwan’s government has ordered Formosa Plastics Group to suspend use of four more pressure tanks at the troubled Mailiao petrochemical complex in southern Taiwan, in addition to two that were shut earlier, saying that the materials of the tanks are prone to explosion. Safety checks will likely last for two months.

Heat Exchanger Order

Alfa Laval has received an order to supply Alfa Laval Packinox heat exchangers to a petrochemical plant in Singapore. The order has a value of SEK 110 million and delivery is scheduled for 2012. The Alfa Laval Packinox heat exchangers will be used in a catalytic processing section for production of mixed Xylenes, which is used for PET bottles and synthetic nylons.

Plant Contract

Fluor Corp. has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract by SAPCo, a joint venture company being formulated between Saudi Acrylic Acid Company and Evonik Industries, for its Super Absorbent Polymer Project (SAP) in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The contract value was undisclosed. The SAP project work is underway and is expected to be completed and commissioned by the fourth quarter of 2013. Super absorbent polymer is used in the manufacture of disposable diapers.


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