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Chexpress - October 18, 2011




North America

Purchase

Statoil ASA has agreed to buy Brigham Exploration Co. for $4.4 billion in cash, giving it control of fields in North Dakota. The deal will give Statoil more than 375,000 acres in the Williston Basin, which holds the potential for oil production from the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota. Brigham also holds interests in 40,000 net acres in other areas. The current production is approximately 21,000 barrels of oil/day and could potentially ramp up to 60,000 – 100,000 over five years. Statoil will maintain Brigham’s Austin, Texas headquarters and retain the 100 current employees located in Austin and North Dakota.

Fines

Federal regulators have settled a complaint that accused the operators of a chemical plant in Franklin, Virginia of spilling toxic substances into the Nottoway River. The Environmental Protection Agency filed the complaint against Eastman Chemical Resins, Hercules and GEO Specialty Chemicals. Hercules and GEO each agreed to pay $700,000 in civil penalties to settle the complaint. Eastman Chemical has already paid $365,000.

Fire

A fire at a Magnablend Inc. facility in Waxahachie, Texas shot massive plumes of black smoke and bright orange flames into the sky and forced schoolchildren and residents to evacuate or take cover indoors to avoid possible exposure to dangerous gases. The fast-moving blaze overwhelmed a sprinkler system and consumed a fire truck, but no injuries were reported from the fire or resulting smoke. It was unclear what chemicals were involved in sparking the fire.

Acquisition

Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI) and El Paso Corporation (EP) have announced a definitive agreement where KMI will acquire all of the outstanding shares of EP in a transaction that will create the largest midstream and the fourth largest energy company in North America with an enterprise value of approximately $94 billion and 80,000 miles of pipelines. The transaction has been approved by each company’s board of directors. Prior to closing, the transaction will require approval of both KMI and EP shareholders. It is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012 and is also subject to customary regulatory approvals.

World

Petrochemical Complex

Qatar Petroleum International and Shell (China) Limited have signed a cooperation framework agreement with Taizhou Municipal Government to jointly build a refining and petrochemical complex in Taizhou, Zhejiang province. The Taizhou refining and petrochemical project will refine imported condensate to produce ethylene and other petrochemicals. It is expected to spur the construction of other midstream and downstream petrochemical projects.

SAP Plants

BASF is investing in two superabsorbent polymers (SAP) plants in emerging markets. In South America, the company will build a SAP plant in Camacari, Brazil with an annual capacity of 60,000 metric tons. Production is expected to start in late 2014. In China, BASF-YPC Company Limited, a 50/50 joint venture between BASF and Sinopec, plans to build a 60,000 metric ton SAP plant at its Verbund site in Nanjing in mid 2012. Commercial production is planned for the beginning of 2014.

Technical Center

Ashland Inc. celebrated the opening of its new technical center in Mumbai, India. The center will develop additives and ingredients that deliver high-performance characteristics sought after by coatings and construction industry professionals. The technical center offers the latest technologies for rheological additives, surfactants, foam-control agents, buffers for water-based paints, additives for cement dry ad-mix and for construction chemicals. The company’s plans call for the technical center to be expanded to offer solutions for the personal care industry in early 2012.




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