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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Oct 2013


Highlights of Some of the Articles
IF THE GOVERNMENT FAILS TO GIVE A LEAD , WHAT CAN INDUSTRIES DO? Whether  the government recognises it or not , the fact remains  that Indian chemical industries are now in a crisis situation. This is clearly evident from the fact that the capacity build up in Indian chemical industries have now nearly halted with only a few projects coming up though a  few projects may be in the planning stage. Obviously, industries lack confidence to expand capacities or set up new projects in the absence of clear lead from Government of India about the policies and the programmes. Several chemical industries such as vinyl acetate monomer, alcohol based acetic acid projects have all been closed down, unable to face the competition from imported product. As a matter of fact, several chemical industries which have been making the chemicals  have now  started importing  them and in the process becoming trading houses atleast partly. The import of several bulk chemicals such as acetic acid, methanol, vinyl acetate monomer etc. are all increasing at alarming rate.  Indian chemical industries is now facing the threat of becoming a net importer. There is no indication that the Government of India is aware of such trend and if it would be aware, it has not given indication that it is concerned. To be globally competitive, the size of Indian chemical industries must become much larger and they should become more technology intensive.  With regard to technology,   less said is better , as Indian chemical industries have little to show by way of research achievements or breakthrough in process developments.  While the private sector continues to largely  pay lip service to research and development, with several R & D outfits really functioning as quality control departments or indulging themselves in day today trouble shooting exercise, the massive investments made by Government of India in the CSIR laboratories  have not paid dividends. They seem to be more focused on paper presentation and applying for patents, than towards  commercialisation of such technologies. The energy crisis faced by the country now is telling upon the confidence of the chemical industries in India . With production of crude oil, natural gas and coal nearly stagnating even as the demand are steadily going up, the industry faces an uncertain situation with regard to the energy source. It appears that all that the government can do in the energy front is to import  fuel resources and struggle to find foreign exchange to pay for such imports. The Government of India is guilty of not working out an appropriate and alternate energy policy in tune with the strength and weakness of India.  While the exploration efforts for oil and gas are moving at snail’s pace, government is toying with the idea of promoting number of uncertain projects  like shale gas and coal bed methane,where there are serious environmental and other issues which have not been carefully evaluated and studied. There are obvious  energy alternatives appropriate to the country’s climate and other conditions, such as off shore wind energy, algae bio fuel and jatropha bio fuel projects. Sadly, the Government  of India   is not evincing adequate interests  in such suggestions for whatever reasons.  Detailed note submitted to the Prime minister of India and other senior ministers by Chennai based Chemical Industries Association have not even been acknowledged. Indian chemical industries today desperately need lead from the government with clarity about its long term energy  strategies and there is a need for a big push for R & D  and   manufacturing activity. In the absence of such initiatives from the government, Indian chemical industries remain helpless.
The import of several bulk chemicals have been increasing steadily in India. Several units producing acetic acid by ethyl alcohol route,  vinyl acetate monomer and others have closed down the plants leading to surge in imports. What  is even more disconcerting is the fact that the hitherto manufacturers themselves have turned into importers and traders. A  few examples of  steep  increase in  imports are given below.            Name of the chemical 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13   AAGR %   (Period: April to March) Quantity imported in metric tonnes Acrylonitrile 81568 64693 72618 77357 81963 0.1 Monoethylene  glycol 424427 682128 771189 634589 654830 11.5 Toluene 145719 198906 187442 245391 307144 20.5 PTA 181488 474488 744370 594914 647958 37.5 Polycarbonate 41638 54315 105264 116029 122742 31 Citric acid 34374 40467 44102 53142 56743 13.3 Carbon black 58729 71876 73145 122632 139863 24.2 Mono sodium glutamate 10787 12935 12924 17274 19532 16 LAB 76115 91248 74444 106813 125293 13.3 Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) 219240 375877 581699 460658 531289 24.8 P-xylene 235440 292945 403296 435785 564832 24.5 Acrylic acid 7982 10277 11688 12543 16407 19.7 Phenol 91829 100563 121969 146101 171717 16.9 Acetone 68363 80080 78236 100637 95939 8.8 Melamine 11869 17241 27471 29144 40512 35.9 Adipic acid 8744 14926 17113 13673 18015 19.8 Isopropyl alcohol 22793 28988 35604 28866 50165 21.8 Styrene 395724 453007 458594 520758 591646 10.6 Methanol 1058865 822247 813421 1199635 1398982 7.2 TDI 12216 14101 18097 19422 27825 22.9 Butyl rubber 53287 67196 70890 82117 78525 10.2 Polyvinyl alcohol 15187 18634 22647 22104 27935 16.5 Poly acetal 10909 15437 19190 21081 25933 24.2 Vinyl acetate monomer 50377 76657 85368 124726 127535 26.1
Adipic acid is white crystalline solid, which is slightly soluble in water.It is stable under ordinary conditions. Product specification Name of the producer                         LANXESS Parameter Value Assay ≥99.8% Water Content ≤0.2% Bulk density 700 gram per L Boiling point 330 degree Following details are discussed in this article
  • Uses and application
  • Process route and global utilization pattern
  • Indian import
  • Indian demand trends
  • Global scenario
  • Global producers
  • Chinese scenario
  • Global demand
  • Pattern of global demand
  • Prognosis
HFO 1234yf has been proposed as a replacement for R-134a for use as a refrigerant in automobile air conditioners. HFO 1234yf was developed to meet the European directive 2006/40/EC that went into effect in 2011, requiring that all new car platforms for sale in Europe use a refrigerant in its AC system with a GWP below 150. HFO 1234yf was introduced in November 2007 at the 2nd European Workshop on Mobile Air Conditioning and Auxiliaries Conference in Turin, Italy. Comparison of refrigerants.   Global warming Refrigeration Refrigerant Potential Capacity R-134a 1430 100% HFO 1234yf 4 98.9%     Relative Energy Flammability Refrigerant Efficiency Classification R-134a 100% Non-flammable HFO 1234yf 99.2% Mild  Flammability   Alternate names HFO 1234yf; R1234yf; 2,3,3,3-Tetrafluoropropylene; 2,3,3,3-Tetrafluoropropene CAS number 754-12-1 Molecular formula C3H2F4 Appearance Colourless gas Density 1.1 g per cm3 at 25 deg. C (liquid) Following details are discussed in this article
  • Applications
  • Risk of flammability
  • EU regulations
  • Global projects
Impending energy crisis in India Indian production of coal is less than 600 million tonnes per annum and import is around 80 million metric tonnes  per annum. Production may go up at 2% per annum in the next few years.   Indian production of crude oil is around 30 million metric tonnes per annum and import is around 160 million metric tonnes per annum. Production may go up at 1% per annum in the next few years.  Indian production of natural gas is around 35 million metric tonnes per annum  and import is around 14 million metric tonnes per annum. Production may go up at 2% per annum in the next few years. If  India were to maintain GDP growth of 8% per annum, given the present situation, Indian import  during the year 2018 have to increase  to the level of coal around 150 million metric tonnes, crude oil around 260 million metric tonnes and more than double that of natural gas.  In such scenario, import will increase to alarming level. This would make Indian economy highly vulnerable  to the international energy scenario  and price pressure.  Such impending energy crisis have to be avoided by strong and urgent policy measures, plans and strategies, which should involve identification and implementation of projects for appropriate energy source that would not lead to outflow of foreign exchange and current account deficit. Approach  to overcome impending energy crisis Such alternative indigenous energy sources have to be identified and developed based on India’s strength and opportunities The following targeted  indigenous alternative energy sources are explained in this article.
  •         Algae based biofuel
  •         Jatropha based biofuel
  •         Onshore wind power
  •         Offshore wind power
  •         Solar power
  •         Hydro power
  •         Nuclear power
  •         Coal gas
  •         Coal bed methane  / Shale gas
High in methane content, shale gas lies trapped in little bubbles inside shale rock formation, extensively found across different sedimentary basins including coalfields. Though the energy potential of shale gas has been known, its extraction has taken off in the last decade with innovations in extraction techniques such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Though shale gas has changed the energy dynamics in the US, its exploration is yet to take off in Europe and other regions due to environmental concerns. India has a draft shale gas policy. The following details are discussed in this article
  • Global resource of shale gas
  • Scenario in USA
  • Environmental issues in shale gas production in USA
  • Petrochemical projects from shale gas in USA
  • Scenario in Europe
  • Scenario in Poland
  • Factors creating the ‘shale gas revolution’ in the United States as compared with Europe
  • Cost of operation
  • Scenario in China
  • PetroChina  and Shell start extracting shale gas in Sichuan
  • Scenario  in Australia
  • Shell’s plans for shale gas
  • Indian scenario
  • Indian reserves of shale gas
  • Six shale gas blocks may come up for bidding in India
  • RIL, Cairn and Essar put shale gas exploration on priority list
  • ONGC to start drilling for shale gas in Gujarat
  • Shale gas exploration technology
  • Hydraulic Fracturing
  • Environmental issues
  • Prognosis
Despite the Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) trying its best to enhance production, India has been importing around 50% of its uranium needs to feed the Nuclear Power Corporation of India’s (NPCIL) 20 reactors. With free trade of uranium possible, depending on the country from which uranium is bought, imported uranium is working out to be 20-25% cheaper than the cost at which UCIL has been producing it in the country. The above title is further discussed in this article.
Helium supplies would face an abrupt drop unless US Congress would pass legislation to continue operating the US Federal Helium Reserve (Amarillo, TX). The reserve, operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), supplies more than one-third of the world’s crude helium supply. A 1996 law requires BLM to pay down $1.3 billion in debt from crude helium sales but does not provide for continued operations after the debt is paid. The BLM is scheduled to make the final [debt] payment on 7 October 2013, two years ahead of schedule.Once the payment is made, funding currently used to operate the program will terminate and any future proceeds from the program will go directly to the US Treasury. Only US Congress can decide the future of the federal helium programme. The above subject  is further discussed in this article.
PLANT CLOSURES The article discusses the following closure plans
  • Sponge iron plants shut operations in Karnataka
  • Closure  of  TiO2 plant in Singapore
  • Total to close Carling cracker unit
  • AkzoNobel to cease production of organic peroxides at Dutch site
SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE POLYSILICON BLAST IN SAMSUNG ENGINEERING The Samsung Group (Seoul) says it has fired Ki-Seok Park, CEO of Samsung Engineering, following a fatal accident at a polysilicon plant at Ulsan, South Korea, in late July. Samsung says it is holding Ki-Seok Park accountable for a water tank explosion that killed 3 employees and injured more than 10. The 10,000- metric tonnes per year plant is being built for SMP, a joint venture between Samsung Fine Chemicals and MEMC at a Samsung Fine Chemicals site and is scheduled to be onstream this year. The plant was undergoing tests when a water tank burst during a stress test. ANTI DUMPING PAGE TERT-BUTYLHYDROQUINONE China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has launched an investigation into import of tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) from India. MOC has received requests from Chinese TBHQ producers, accusing Indian manufacturers of dumping the product on the Chinese market and calling for an inquiry.  The ministry will consider whether Indian companies have sold TBHQ at an artificially low price in China and any consequences that the action may have brought to Chinese businesses. The investigation is expected to take at least a year and may be extended to Feb. 2015. TBHQ is an organic compound used in the food industry as antioxidant for vegetable oils, many edible animal fats, roasted food, fried food and other meat products.  It is also used as a stabilizer for insecticides, as well as an intermediate for dyes and pharmaceuticals. NEWS ROUND UP - INTERNATIONAL The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed
  • Celanese and PetroChina to develop fuel ethanol
  • CO project BY Air Liquide at Antwerp
  • Biosimilars joint venture
  • Specialty ligand
  • CO2 recovery plant
  • Emission-free amine catalysts
  • Valifenalate based fungicide
  • Lauric acid
  • Biobased superabsorben
SYNTHETIC RUBBER INDUSTRY IN CHINA Many new or expanded synthetic rubber (SR) units were put into production in China in 2012. By June 2013, China has increased its capacity of eight major  SR products to 4.61 million metric  tonnes   per annum .  And the country produced 3.79 million tonnes of SR (including latex) in 2012, up 7.06% YOY, with the output of eight major products reaching 3.01 million tonnes, rising 11.05% from a year earlier. Benefiting from new units that will be put into use in the next few years, China’s SR capacity is estimated to exceed 7.5 million metric  tonnes per annum in 2017. As of June 2013, Chinese capacity of eight SR products totaled 4.61 million metric  tonnes   per annum , of which 35.94%, or 1.66 million metric  tonnes   per annum , is contributed by SBR; 29.83%, 1.38 million metric  tonnes   per annum , polybutadiene rubber; 19.09%, 880  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum  SBC; 4.56%, 210  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum , nitrile rubber; 1.80%, 83  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum  chloroprene rubber; 4.34%, 200  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum , butyl rubber; 0.98%, 45  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum , ethylene propylene rubber, 3.47%,  160  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum  polyisoprene rubber.                            As China’s largest SR producer, Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Company has 345  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum  SR capacity, accounting for 8.13% of the domestic total; second largest, Sinopec Baling Petrochemical Co., Ltd., 340  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum , accounting for 7.38%; third largest, Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Co., Ltd., 300  kilo metric  tonnes   per annum , accounting for 6.51%. Following details are discussed inthis article
  • China’s major SR Producers in 2013
  • China’s new SR capacity from 2013 to 2017
  • Supply and Demand of China’s SR
NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed
  • Wood-plastic-composites partnership in India
  • Plans of Hindustan Copper Ltd.
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS The recent developments on the following products discussed
  • Device to detect biodiesel contamination
  • Paraxylene from plant-based materials
  • Generating electricity from sewage
  • PP catalyst development
PHARMA PAGE USFDA RECORD OF INDIAN PHARMA UNITS India has 526 pharma manufacturing facilities approved by the American regulator, the second-highest number outside of US, and accounts for nearly 40% of the generic drugs sold in the that country. India, which is second-largest drug exporter to the US, according to the FDA, exported $4.23 billion or 30% of total exports to the US market in 2012-13. Out of the country’s total pharmaceutical exports of $14.6 billion, India exports 19% to Europe,followed by 17% to Africa, 7% to West Asia and 5% to the CIS countries. Despite the recent instances of top Indian drug makers, including Ranbaxy, Wockhardt, Lupin and Aurobindo Pharma, being  issued with import alerts or warned about lax manufacturing practices by the FDA, only 47 drug manufacturing facilities or 9% of total units approved by the American regulator has been banned from exporting products (be it drugs, food products or medical devices) to the US market till date. Above subject is further discussed in this article. Following pharmaceutical  information is discussed in this article
  • New microbiocide that tricks HIV to kill itself
  • Price Details
  • Butadiene
  • Ex-Factory Prices Of Chemicals In China In August 2013
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals Imported At The Chennai Port During The Month Of August  2013
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