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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal,  October 2015


Highlights of Some of the Articles
Knowledge management is a worthy function in chemical company, fully justifying its resource requirement.
Knowledge management will remain a core component for any efforts to improve efficiency,          to innovative or to provide more response to the market needs and to the clients
Knowledge management can not be over looked by any chemical company that desire to improve profitability and competitiveness.
Integrating global economy
In view of the environmental compulsions, changing consumer expectations and emerging technologies, chemical industry is undergoing sea change globally. Product development efforts, technology optimisation measures and energy management techniques are being continuously updated by chemical companies all over the world to maintain the competitive edge and remain in the race. As the global economy is increasingly and rapidly getting integrated, possession of updated global knowledge with regard to various developments in chemical and allied industry has become a matter of vital necessity for chemical industry professionals all over the world. Today, chemical professionals are living in an era of global compulsions and there are major challenges to be met. They have to strive in competitive global environment that have cultural diversities and concept of universal citizenship in an increasing globalising community. Investment focus of multinational companies in developing countries Further, with the market in developed countries getting saturated  due to near stagnant population and lack of adequate land area in the region, multinational companies are looking forward to invest in developing countries in Asia and Africa, where the need of the population is high, though the purchasing power of the natives are still poor. In such scenario, multinational companies desiring to invest in developing countries to sustain their growth, have to necessarily  reposition themselves in tune with prevailing conditions in the regions. Challenges and opportunities for chemical professionals In this scenario, chemical industry professionals have huge opportunities as well as challenges, Obviously, they can not remain isolated or remain pre occupied only with local conditions, as the competitions are becoming global. The preconditions for the chemical industry professionals to competently manage the challenging scenario is to pay great attention to the task of knowledge management.
Knowledge management is an integrated subject, requiring cross assimilation of latest technology practices, emerging substitution possibilities, changing consumer preference, modern management practices, apart from complete understanding of the trends in the policies and programmes of the various countries and sociological issues in different regions.
To succeed in the competitive environment, substantial level of business knowledge and expertise on global scale is required by chemical industry professionals. Leadership of chemical industry is judged non only on the basis of technical competence and strong knowledge of the company’s products as well as corporate structure but also is based on the broad understanding of the cross section of activities and developments in a number of related fields and awareness about the cultural variations in different regions.  The knowledge level of the chemical professionals should be quite broad, even if this means that in certain areas, it may not reach the required depth. Need for knowledge management expertise in chemical companies To have knowledge management expertise at adequate standards, the chemical companies necessarily need to create a forward looking think tank in the organisations. Certainly, knowledge management team has to be different from corporate planning group. While the corporate planning group is involved in working future growth strategies, the knowledge management team operates with wider perspectives and in larger areas.  Knowledge management team will be orienting and fine tuning the company’s philosophy itself, in taking an overall view of the developing global scenario and the desired strategies on how the company should position itself in the global sphere in the short and long term. India needs to focus on knowledge management India needs to focus on intellectual value creation and not just in developing a manufacturing base. Unfortunately, one gets  an impression that India is not using its massive pool of talent to create new technologies, which is possible only by strengthening knowledge management base. Only when India assumes the status of a hub for intellectual property and knowledge management, will its manufacturing base be competitive in a world that values innovation.
Many people around the world now attribute  the present so called “global meltdown” to the slow down in the industrial and economic activities in China. Obviously, this implies that Chinese economy and industries have the most decisive role in influencing the global   economic trends at present.

Those  who have been closely following  the developments in Chinese industries  over the last few decades readily know that the phenomenal  level of industrial investments in China have  resulted in a big leap forward for  China  and propelled it as the most important region in the world.
The leadership of China and the aggressive and forward looking approach of the industries in China can justifiably take credit for pushing China to such an important position, out beating several other   developed countries  in the level of growth and it’s direction. Principal role of Chinese chemical industries

Chemical industries in China have played  the principal role in the forging ahead of the  Chinese industry and economy to such a lofty position, that make people now say “China’s pain is the  world’s pain”.

What is very significant about Chinese chemical industry is that, while it has generously welcomed investments and technology from developed countries, it has competently absorbed such technologies in quick time, that has enabled Chinese chemical industries to be benefited significantly in accelerating it’s pace of growth in appropriate and multiple directions. 

It is remarkable that  China has skilfully devised it’s policies and approach by creating suitable climate for the overseas investment in China and at the same time, opening the Chinese market to the international companies,  that have made  China to be the most important and active industrial hub in the world.  Such dynamic and robust policies  have enabled Chinese chemical industries to gain the most modern technologies from developed countries , which really took several years for the multi national companies abroad  to develop and which has been readily  made available in China  in a short period.

When multinational companies implement projects in China adopting their updated engineering and technology practices and go further to set up  massive research and development institutions in China, inevitably the technology strength of Chinese scientists and engineers  get vastly improved, as they come across such modern technologies  and get themselves employed in operating such technologies.

While recognising the contribution of multinational companies in boosting industrial and economic activities in China (which has been made possible by the pragmatic investment  and promotional policies of the Chinese government), it has to be recognised that chemical industries in China have also oriented the course of investments and growth in China, in a manner  appropriate to the resource position, need and priorities of China. This explains the present advantageous position that China enjoys  in the world, where China is no more looked at as mere recipient of technologies and investments but as a self propelled  industrial and economic giant.
Original and innovative initiatives

Several original, appropriate and innovative initiatives of China can be readily pointed out, that have enabled China to reach its present pivotal position in the world market.
Promotion of a number of coal to liquids, coal to olefins and coal to monoethylene glycol (MEG) projects in China is a bold and dynamic strategy, that help in substantially exploiting it’s massive coal resources advantageously.

Coal to liquid production in China commenced in 2009 and is reported  to have reached 29000 bbl per day in four plants and is expected to increase to more than 310000 bbl per day by 2016.  The pace of progress of coal to liquid projects in China is really amazing.

The production of methanol and derivatives from coal has been developed principally in China.  The production of MEG and olefins for polyethylene and polypropylene is now reported to have reached capacities of 1.7 million metric tonne per annum.

Such strategy in using coal resource for the production of coal  based chemicals, which can be substitute for petrochemicals,  has not been adopted by any other coal rich country in a scale that has been done in China. This investment in coal to olefin project  will certainly stand China in good stead in the long run, reducing the dependence on crude oil and natural gas import for the production of petrochemicals.

While the present drop in crude oil price have made the economy of coal to olefin projects a little suspect (as coal to olefin project  would be competitive only with the crude oil price remaining above 70 USD per barrel), this is a temporary issue, as the crude oil price are bound to increase to the level of 70 USD per barrel and above sooner or later.

DME projects

China’s strategy of making massive investment in setting up dimethyl ether (DME) projects and promoting the use of DME as fuel substituting it for LPG, is yet another appropriate and unique strategy followed by China.

Such examples, as described above, only highlight the fact that China is not copying the pattern of growth of the Western countries or mindlessly  following  the schemes adopted elsewhere.      Chinese chemical industries have their own mind set, which are guided by ground realities in China.

Over capacity – No issue

Chinese chemical industries have been building huge capacities for the production of several building blocks and derivative chemicals.

For example, at present, there are more than 200 petroleum refining companies across China, including state owned companies like Sinopec, CNPC, CNOOC and Sinochem as well as other refineries of lesser capacity.  The capacity of a single refining unit of these companies is typically between 2 million metric tonne per annum and 10 million metric tonne per annum, which are of globally competitive size.

The critics have been arguing that Chinese chemical industries have created huge capacity for the production of several chemical products, far more than the demand in China. The critics even suspect that Chinese investors have not carried out appropriate demand supply analysis for such chemicals in the Chinese and global market, before taking investment decisions. Chinese project promoters have even been described as over enthusiastic.
While there may be some truth in such criticism in isolated cases, the fact is that China will not suffer in any significant manner due to such over capacity creation in the long term.
As a matter of fact, investors in chemical industries in several other countries  have adopted similar practice of over capacity creation, anticipating growth in demand in the future as well as targeting international market and for adopting the strategy of optimising the investment level. 

Middle East countries have been building such over capacities in recent years with regard to several petro chemicals, in spite of the fact that the market demand in middle east regions are comparatively very small. In recent times, in the wake of the shale gas boom in US, large capacities are being built for ethane based products and their derivatives in USA, only viewing the global market and anticipating growth in demand.

It can be seen that with regard to such approach of building over capacities, the strategies adopted in China, Middle East countries and USA are really not much different.  However, one cannot miss the fact that China is particularly better placed  to adopt such over capacity creation strategy, in view of the potentially large domestic market in China, which remains  not fully exploited as of now.
With the world demand for chemical products steadily increasing, the regions and the companies that build capacities anticipating growth, as forward planning strategy, are bound to reap the benefits in the long term.  Such over capacity creation would serve the regions and the companies well, as and when the demand would inevitably increase.  Therefore, over capacity creation keeping in tune with the advanced technology parameters, must be considered as a forward looking, progressive and dynamic exercise. Forward looking plans for shale gas projects

China is putting forth special and sustained efforts to exploit the shale gas resource in China,  that would augment the production of gas and oil and make China less dependent on import of the critical petrochemical feedstock and fuel. This is a typical case of China looking beyond the present time to sustain its long term growth and stability.

China plans to produce 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas by 2015, 15 billion cubic meters by 2017 and more than 30 billion cubic meters by 2020.

Sinopec has developed a series of technologies for horizontal drilling hydrofracture, production testing, etc.  These technologies are likely to improve operating efficiency, as the technologies are in tune with the characteristics of China’s shale gas formations.

Production of Jiaoye 1 HF well are reported to yield 60 000 cubic meters per day for more than    700 consecutive days; Jiaoye 6-2HF achieved a cumulative output of 120 million cubic meters, becoming the first in China to break the 100 million cubic meters mark.

It is reported the new capacity of 2 million cubic meters has been made  exploitable. 

Safety and environmental issues

Critics have been expressing concern above the safety and environment issues in Chinese chemical industries.  The recent explosion in chemical warehouse in Tianjin has received adverse publicity around the world. 

However, it has to be kept in mind that in US and Europe also, a number of environmental hazards and accidents have been reported in recent times, in several multinational companies such as DuPont. A few examples of grave safety issues in multi national companies in recent times are note worthy.

Explosions occurred in LyondellBasell Industries’ site at Berre, France, on 14 July 2015.

An explosion at Hanwha Chemical’s (Seoul) polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant at Ulsan, South Korea, on 3 July 2015, killed six people and injured one.

OSHA has placed DuPont in its severe violator enforcement programme, after inspections that followed a fatal accident in November 2014 at the company’s La Porte, Texas site, found “serious, wilful  and repeat violations.”

In China, on December 5,2014,  the environmental ministry issued the comprehensive plan for the treatment of volatile organic compounds in the petrochemical industry,  kicking off a nationwide crackdown on VOCs.
Such pro active environmental and safety measures will certainly improve the conditions in China in the coming years Chinese chemical industries will continue to dominate

While foreign direct investment has come down recently in China, the fact is that it has only slowed down and it is still growing at around 2.1 % year on year.

China achieved spectacular progress in the last few decades, with average annual growth exceeding the world average annual growth considerably.  It is not wise  to expect that such extraordinary growth can be sustained for all time to come. Such expectations are impractical. 
Obviously, it need not be said that Chinese chemical industries are slowing down.  It would be appropriate to state that the growth of Chinese chemical industries are now stabilizing, after the extraordinary growth achieved in recent years. Today, entire world appears to be looking up to China to sustain the growth of global economy.  In view of the dominant position already achieved by China, it appears that China will continue to be the engine for growth for the world economy and the world chemical industry in particular.

The fundamentals of chemical industry in China are sound and healthy and the world can be rest assured than China will continue to grow at stabilised growth level, taking the world forward along with it.
Application area Sodium chlorate is used as a component in the bleaching process, an important process step in the manufacturing of bleached pulp. Outside China, about 98% of sodium chlorate production goes into pulp and paper manufacturing. Smaller applications include water treatment and pesticides, but demand into these segments does not present many opportunities. Following details are discussed in this article
  • Consumption norm
  • Global Capacity
  • Scenario in Canada
  • Scenrio in Europe
  • Scenario in Brazil
  • Global production trend
  • Global imports
  • Global exports
  • Sodium chlorate facility in Kerala
  • Indian import / export trend
Alternate name                         n-Butyl acetate, Acetic acid butyl ester, Butyl ethanoate CAS Number                            123-86-4 Chemical formula                      C6H12O2 Appearance                              Clear, moderately volatile liquid Odour                                      Characteristic ester odour Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Product application
  • Import in India
  • Pattern of countrywise import
  • Indian demand
  • Pattern of demand
  • Growth in demand:                                          
  • Global scenario
  • Global production/demand
  • Growth rate in demand
  • Global outlook
  • Scenario in China
  • Scenario in America and others
  • International import trend
  • Process outline
  • Recommendation
General Details
Synonyms                     Polyvinylidene difluoride; poly(vinylene fluoride) 
CAS Number                24937-79-9
Chemical formula          (C2H2F2)n
Polyvinylidene fluoride is made up of 59% fluorine, 38% carbon and 3% hydrogen.
Appearance                  White solid powder or white translucent solid pellets
Solubility in water          Not soluble in water
Chemical inertness PVDF is resistant to halogens, particularly bromine and to weak bases.  It is degraded by fuming sulphuric acid, some strongly basic amines, hot concentrated alkalies and alkali metals.  PVDF swells in strongly polar solvents such as acetone and ethyl acetate and is slightly soluble in aprotic solvents such as dimethyl formamide and dimethyl sulphoxide. Mechanical properties PVDF displays superior mechanical properties in tension, bending, torsion and compression. Tensile stress at yield of 54 MPa observed with PVDF is remarkably high for a fluorinated polymer. PVDF retains excellent mechanical properties between 40 deg.C and +160 deg.C. Articles made from PVDF are distinguished by high resistance to abrasion, similar to that of polyamides. High degree of crystallinity allows PVDF to be used upto a temperature 
of +160 deg.C
Acute toxicity: Exposure to thermal decomposition products can cause serious hydrogen fluoride burns and corrosion. Product Specification Name of the producer               Arkema Inc.
Brand name
Kynar PVDF Kynar Flex 2800 Solef 11010 Relative density 1.76 1.78 1.77 Tensile yield, MPa 35.9 23.4 30.8 Tensile strength, MPa 35.9 41.4 24.8 Elongation, %2 37 525 430 Tensile modulus, MPa 1503 414 1000 Flexural modulus, MPa 1393 552 1000 Dielectric constant
At 1 kHz
At 1 kHz
Dissipation factor
At 1 kHz
At 1 kHz
Volume resistivity, 2 X 1014 8 X 1013 6 X 1014
Following details are discussed in this article
  • Product application
  • Manufacturing process
  • Global scenario
  • Important global producers
  • Indian scenario
  • Imports
  • Pattern of countrywise imports
  • Indian supply scenario
  • Indian demand scenario
Oil prices could fall to $20 a barrel says Goldman Sachs - as it happened ...but the IEA thinks OPEC’s strategy is working and forcing expensive oil out of the market.
The value of the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude has already fallen from $107 last June to less than $44 but analysts at Goldman Sachs forecast another huge plunge in WTI. It last traded at $20 a barrel in 2002.
Following details are discussed in this article
  • Forecast of Goldman Sachs
  • Forecast of International Energy Agency
  • Report of Oil & Gas UK
Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Ltd.  is implementing  6 million metric tonne per year capacity petroleum refinery project at Thiruchopuram, Kayalpattu and Kamblemedu villages in the Cuddalore Taluk in Tamil Nadu. The project has been designated as the anchor unit of the proposed Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) in Cuddalore/Nagapattinam Districts. According to reports, the total investment in the project so far is Rs.8,000 crore, which includes Rs.4,500 crore expenditure and Rs.3,500 crore interest. Process plant works of this project commenced in July,2008.  It is now claimed that the project would be commissioned by end  2017, after protracted delay. The refinery, which once had a strength of 450 personnel, has seen a steady staff erosion over time. The equity holders in the company are  Nagarjuna Fertilizer, Tata Petrodyne, a unit of the Tata Group,. Tamil Nadu government through TIDCO, Uhde of Germany and the Cuddalore Port . Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Product range of  the petroleum refinery
  • Infrastructure
  • Source of crude oil
  • Protracted delay and financial restructuring exercise
Discovery by ONGC State run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has made another discovery in its Bay of Bengal block KG-D5, taking the number of finds in the area to 13. ONGC discovered oil and gas in the well F-1 in the northern part of the KG basin block KG-DWN-98/2 or KG-D5, which sits next to the KG-D6 block of Reliance Industries. On conventional testing, exploratory well F-1 flowed oil at the rate of 732 barrels per day and gas at the rate of 13,155 cubic meters a day. The 7,294.60 sq km deep sea KG-D5 block has been broadly categorised into Northern Discovery Area (NDA - 3,800.6 sq km) and Southern Discovery Area (SDA - 3,494 sq km). The latest discovery has been made in Northern Discovery Area. ONGC plans to develop the discoveries in three clusters -- 14.5 million standard cubic meters per day of gas for 15 years from Cluster-1 comprising of D&E finds of NDA in KG-D5 block and G-4 find in the neighbouring area. Following details are discussed in this article
  • Auction of oil fields off Mumbai
Close on the heels of Prime Minister directing various ministries to try and make ethanol blending with petrol in the proposed 10:90 ratio a reality, the food department has set targets for major producing states for supplies of this bio-fuel.  It has asked the states to ramp up supplies of ethanol and submit their views on the targets proposed by the Centre soon. However, the sugar industry that produces ethanol, meanwhile, is finding itself unable to commit entire supplies for the proposed 10% blending with petrol, unless supplies are reasonably incentivised, administrative reforms are implemented and further capacity created. Following details are discussed in this article
  • State of the Indian sugar industry
  • Supply and tender
  • Dismal achievement
Government’s action plans Government of India has set up a committee, headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman to oversee the revival of three urea plants as well as the progress of Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline, entailing investments of Rs 23,000 crore. The committee will oversee the revival of closed state run urea plants in Gorakhpur (UP), 
Sindri ( Jharkhand) and Barauni ( Bihar).
It will also review the progress on construction of Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline, a senior official told PTI. The committee will work on to establish the single window mechanism to provide required approvals for revival of three urea plants, and the gas pipeline. Gas to all these urea plants would be provided at the pooling price from the Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline which requires an investment of Rs 5,000 crore. Following details are discussed in this article
  • Ramagundam Urea plant gets green nod from MoEF
The current coal bed methane (CBM) output in the country is dismal. Just 1.1 million metric standard cubic metres per day is produced from the fields of Essar Oil and Great Eastern Energy Corporation (GEECL). The CBM explorers  have said that without ‘economically-viable’ pricing for CBM, the investments may not see the light of day. India offered 33 CBM blocks. However, 17 of them, or 50% of the blocks, have been relinquished The road block for revising the price of CBM may be that the gas pricing formula announced by the Government of India is applicable for all types of natural gas. Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) would start production of CBM from Sohagpur (West) in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2015 - 2016. It has another block in the vicinity — Sohagpur (East). RIL is awaiting the completion of its pipeline to transport gas to users Above subject is further discussed in this article.
The number of companies that put a price on their greenhouse-gas emissions for internal planning almost tripled this year, a sign that businesses increasingly expect to face restrictions on carbon pollution. Worldwide, 437 companies said they are using internal carbon prices, up from 150 in 2014, according to a report released by the Carbon Disclosure Project, a non profit that gathers environmental data for investors. The number more than doubled in the U.S. and Canada and swelled more than 10 fold in Asia, amid moves by the U.S., China and other countries to add new regulations. Above subject is further discussed in this article.
PLANT CLOSURES The articles discusses about the closure of following plants Castrol to close Mumbai plant
Shell abandons Arctic exploration after failing to find enough crude
Titanium dioxide plant
PolyOne closes facility in Canada
Molycorp to suspend production of   Rare Earths
ANTI DUMPING PAGE The antidumping measures introduced in  the last few weeks on the following products   are discussed Float glass 
Nitrile rubber
Demand for anti dumping duty on solar cells and modules
‘No dumping levy’ between provisional, final orders
SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE The articles discusses about the accidents occurred in the following plants Explosion at Huntsman’s Uerdingen facility 
Chemical blast in China
Accident at Birla copper unit in Gujarat
NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed Ammonia projects in USA
Ammonia plant in Texas
Linear alkyl benzene plant in Canada
Hyperdispersant plant in USA
Polyisobutene plant in Malaysia
Polyisobutylene (PIB)
MTBE plant Togliatti site in Russia
Isobutene from xylose
CO2 to helium plant 
Silica zeolites plant 
Sugar industry scenario in Brazil
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT Recent developments on the following products are discussed CO2 to MEG Car powered by whisky residue CHINA NEWS The recent developments  in China are discussed in the following articles PVDC / electronic gas
Integrated propylene isobutene unit 
Propane dehydrogenation unit
Biodegradable mulch films

The recent developments on the following products  are discussed Use of geo-textiles may be made mandatory 
Indian sponge iron scenario
AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE Recent developments  in the agro  fields are  discussed in the following  articles Illegal pesticides usage in India – Findings of the study
Requiem - Biological insecticide
PHARMA PAGE Recent developments  in the pharma  fields are  discussed in the following  articles Global Vaccine Action Plan Novo-Nordisk's once daily insulin Tresiba ENERGY PAGE Recent developments in  energy fields are discussed in the following articles
  • Issues facing solar power producers
  • Offshore wind energy policy proposed by Government
  • Proposed floating LNG terminals at Kakinada port
  • Price details
  • Natural gas price for urea and LPG units
  • Natural gas price slashed by 16%
  • Spot LNG prices continue to slide, drop 48% year on year
  • Spot price of polymers in China - September 2015
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during July 2015
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