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Chexpress - July 10, 2012

North America

New Plant

ASCO Inc. will open a plant in Stillwater, Oklahoma, creating 250 jobs by 2014. ASCO will initially invest $60 million. The second phase of development would bring an additional $30 million to $40 million in capital investment and another 350 jobs by 2015.

Fertilizer Plant

Corn growers and fertilizer industry officials are considering building a $1 billion plant in the upper Midwest that could produce enough nitrogen fertilizer to feed about 12 percent of the corn and wheat acres in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Organizers have completed a feasibility study and are evaluating potential sites in the three states. A plant likely would be funded by farmers and private interests. Other options include investments from Canadian producers and farmers outside the tri-state area. The plant would take three to four years to finish after construction starts.

Solar Panel Plant

General Electric Co. is delaying plans to build the largest solar factory in the U.S. near Denver, Colorado. The company plans to postpone construction of its PrimeStar solar panel plant by 14 to 18 months. The factory was to have been bigger than 11 football fields and have an annual capacity of 400 megawatts.



Petroleum Deal

Coastal Energy has entered into a Small Field Risk Service Contract (RSC) with Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) for the development and production of petroleum from the Kapal, Banang and Meranti cluster of small fields offshore Peninsular Malaysia. Coastal will be the operator of the KBM Cluster fields. Coastal will provide the upfront development capital, undertaking the development drilling and production of the KBM Cluster. Petronas will remain the owner of the project. The KBM Cluster fields are located with 20 kilometers of each other in a water depth of 60 meters.

Job Cuts

Renesas Electronics Corp. will close or sell eight of its 18 Japan plants and solicit early retirement applications from more than 5,000 employees in September as part of its restructuring effort. The targeted plants include ones in Tsuroka, Yamagata Prefecture, and in Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Resesas is also considering selling two other plants in the future.

$500 Million

A Brazilian judge has ordered Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BASF SE to pay $500 million in compensation for hundreds of ex-workers suing for damages in a suspected plant contamination case. Prosecutors pressed for the money to be deposited in the fund to ensure that the ex-workers get medical treatment while awaiting a final ruling in the case. The companies were accused five years ago of contaminating workers at a plant in Paulinia, Sao Paulo, which was closed in 2002. The labor judge also agreed to expand the number of plaintiffs in the case from the initial 772 to 1,142. Shell said it would fight the decision, arguing that the list of beneficiaries of the fund included people who did not prove they had any link with the firms.


Mitsubishi Chemical will permanently close the company’s No. 1 naphtha cracker at Kashima, Japan, citing an expected weakening in demand. The intended closure, scheduled by 2014, forms part of a wider reorganization of basic petrochemicals production at the Kashima complex. The plans also include permanent closure of the site’s No.1 benzene unit. The overall program is expected to cost $123 million.  


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