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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Apr 2010


Highlights of Some of the Articles
There appears to be widespread fear that the Indian chemical industry is now nearly stagnating and note worthy developments are not happening. Such gloomy view may be justified, considering the inadequate level of investments that are made at the present time in creating capacities for new projects in cross section of the chemical industries. As the demand for various bulk chemicals and intermediate chemicals are going up and capacities are not being built up adequately, there is now increasing import trend  to meet the country’s requirement of many chemicals. Following sample of imports in selected products would readily prove this.
Quantity in metric tonnes
Name of the product April 2005 to  March 2006 April 2006 to March 2007 April 2007 to March 2008 April 2008 to March 2009 Acetic acid 43119 124464 136421 285,036. Acrylonitrile 70053 83815 81832 81568 Benzene 18520 6053 20342 51859 Monoethylene glycol 108208 94488 162603   Methanol 401087 527286 788815 1058865 Phenol 96098 65265 96248   Polypropylene 105263 104131 177710 238228 Styrene monomer 391333 405715 413840 395724 Toluene 84252 129118 142896   VAM 41863 40103 53895 50377 There are a few aspects about the state of  Indian chemical industries which should not be ignored. Lack of guidelines  from Government There is lack of appropriate guidance and initiatives from the Government of India to push forward the chemical industry,  which is necessary to give some sense of direction and confidence to the investors in the Indian chemical industries. Petrochemical industries losing momentum The overall petrochemical feedstock scenario continues to remain uncertain, though there have been some successful gas exploration activities in recent times. The projects for creation of facilities for LNG terminals for import of natural gas are going at slow pace due to heavy delays. There is no clarity about the likely price of natural gas and crude oil for Indian chemical industries in the next 10 years vis a vis other countries like China. Chemical  industries are not sure as to what sort of support they would get from the Government of India,  in the event of international crude and natural gas price going up beyond reasonable level. With petrochemical feedstock scenario, both from the view point of availability and price, looking so hazy, the petrochemical industries in India is losing momentum. Neglect of agro chemical / mineral projects India has considerable strength with regard to agro chemical projects and mineral based projects where there are huge investment opportunities. Unfortunately, even in this area, nothing much is happening. India’s large deposits of ilmenite, chromites, barytes, mica, magnesite etc still largely remain inadequately exploited. and the country is remaining net importer of several mineral based products like titanium dioxide, dead burnt magnesite, sea water magnesia and others . In the case of agro chemical projects, there are attractive investment prospects appropriate to India’s need, but they are not receiving the attention that they deserve from the Indian chemical industries. Several starch based products like citric acid, L-lysine, mono sodium glutamate are continued to be imported in good quantity with no plans for capacity creation. Other cases of missed project opportunities can be readily highlighted. Lack of dynamism in R&D front There is clearly lack of dynamism in research and development activities and innovation strategies in India. Several national research laboratories appear to be operating without any co ordination with each other and  specific time bound targets. An element of lethargy  in their  outlook is clearly evident. The research and development thrust in private sector is also very inadequate. India continues to remain excessively dependent on external sources for it’s technology requirement. Sense of gloom should not be allowed to continue Obviously, the Indian chemical industry is suffering from lack of governmental leadership, that is needed to create right conditions for growth and dynamism. Initiatives have to certainly come from Government of India and State governments and the chemical industry can not progress on  the initiatives of private sector and industrial houses alone without such support. As the central and state governments (except perhaps Gujarat) are not chalking out the time bound development strategies for chemical industry with the urgency that they deserve, sense of gloom  is prevailing  and this should not be allowed to continue anymore. In 1980’s and 1990’s, Indian chemical industry certainly gave better account of themselves  by focusing on manufacturing base and forging ahead. The country now appears to be losing such momentum. The  failure to bring adequate capacities, can make several Indian industries in various sector vulnerable to international price pressure and make them highly import dependent. This would not be a desirable situation. The growth of chemical industries  should not be viewed in isolation, since almost every sector and activities whether it is electronic or automobile or metallurgy or paper or textile or mining etc. needs chemical inputs and would need supportive role from chemical sector. It can even be said that the growth of chemical industries is the pre condition for sustaining the growth in several other sectors. India is now slipping to become large scale importer of chemicals in big quantity. While this scenario may please the chemical industries in Middle East, China and western countries. India would find in difficult to regain the lost ground, if remedial steps would not be taken immediately. The Ministry of Chemicals and Petrochemicals of the Government of India has very important role and responsibility and should take steps to arrest the negative trend. One is not sure as to whether Ministry of Chemicals & Petrochemicals of Government of India is aware of it’s short comings and it’s failure  of play the role expected of it.
With the need to be globally competitive and facing several challenges in the technology, environmental and energy front,the chemical industries in India now realize that without recruiting and retaining reasonably competent and  committed and knowledgeable persons in the team of employees,  it would not be possible to forge ahead. Therefore, there has to be increasing emphasis on identifying the talented engineers, technologists and management personnel for absorbing in the organization. However, this task is not found to be easy.  In recent times,  many chemical companies have been saying that they are finding it difficult to spot and get appropriately talented people for manning various functions in the chemical industry. One of the main problems is that the chemical industry is facing competition for young talent from non core sector such as software that are perceived to be more exciting or glamorous, not to mention being higher paid. Chemical industries particularly in small and medium scale sectors are not found to be attractive enough by several  young engineers and technologists, since these industries  are unable to meet their high  salary and perks expectations. Of course, it is different  story that several engineers and technologists, particularly chemical engineers and chemical technologists, who opt to enter jobs in non core areas like software companies burn  their bridges with their core subjects  and regret  later on for their short sighted approach and becoming  a “also ran” in their career. In software and other non core sector, engineers/ technologists are not identified differently compared to persons belonging to other branches of study and specialization and they lose all their status as technologists \ engineering professionals. This  hurt them in the long term., when it would be too late to retrieve the situation. With such interest among engineers and technologists particularly among freshers and young persons in initially high paying jobs in software and services sector, which are non core fields for engineers and technologists , chemical industries often find that the highly  ranked  chemical engineers and technologists coming  from the colleges are not available to them in adequate number. This creates problems for the chemical industries in having  quality manpower that are required in sustaining their performance and forging  ahead with their innovative plans and strategies. In such situation,  the chemical industries also find that retaining existing work force have become a challenge,  as best of talent are available only in limited number and  such talented people are poached by different organizations  in the chemical sector itself. Obviously,  recruiting and retaining appropriate technical talent need as much care and forward planning as other areas of functions in chemical industries. While chemical companies are striving to win access to talent that are vital for growth, this task is not matched by  systematic planning.   It is a fact that there have been less of  focus on finding new and appropriate  talent in organised way  by the chemical industries in recent times . Therefore , when the need for personnel  arise  when  openings occur in the companies  due to resignation, retirement and capacity expansion ,  the companies are unable to find suitable people in quick time and often are obliged to fill such vacancies in an arbitrary manner , reconciling itself to mediocre talent that may not be fully suitable for the job.   It is unfortunate that many  chemical companies  have put systematic graduate recruitment schemes on hold  in recent times which is proving costly. It is very important that the companies should focus on catching potential employees from a younger age by inducting them as trainees and probationers, to meet the long term and  unforeseen needs ,  an initiative that has been common in the past in all sectors, but which several companies had  abandoned in recent past as part of cost cutting measures.  The companies have to strive for the best graduate talent all the time regardless of the economic circumstances they face. Need for linkage with universities The companies have to be in close contact with faculties and working groups at universities and colleges to constantly identify and tap the upcoming talent in the institutions.  Direct contact between university professors and the companies help to establish numerous collaborations with universities. In addition , exchanging  ideas about the expectations of the young students can be better understood and young students can be well informed about the job opportunities and the job and career  satisfaction that the   quality functions  in chemical industries can provide them .
Need for career portal
The chemical companies should show initiatives  to strategically strengthen and develop the individual employer brand. One of the first steps needed  for example, is to  launch  career portal.  There is need for job fairs for recruitment in chemical companies and there is great opportunity for several companies to jointly host the job fairs  in several centres in the country and abroad. The employer branding initiative needs  programmes to maintain the performance, flexibility and productivity of it’s employees. This would be so, since in the near future , the background of people and employees structure at many companies and project sites are  set to change fundamentally. Need for vacational courses    There is need to groom tomorrow's employees prior to their graduation. This point to the requirement of  summer and vacation courses for students that would  create interest  amongst the students studying in engineering colleges and technological institutions about the career opportunities awaiting them and career growth profile in chemical industries and to mentally prepare them to take various positions in different functions in chemical industries In order to generate enthusiasm amongst the students about the job potentials in chemical industries and appraise them about the exciting possibilities, Nandini Consultancy Centre, a renowned firm of Chemical engineers and Project consultants based at Chennai and Singapore would be organizing  three separate fifteen days programme at Chennai in the month of May, June and July, 2010.  The students interested in attending the vacation programme, titled “Opportunities  in chemical  industries”   may contact Nandini Consultancy Centre, Chennai
Tele:- 91-44-24461346 / 43511945 / 24916037.
Around 90% of the global production of acetone and phenol are made as co-products through cumene hydroperoxide route. In recent times, the import of acetone and phenol have been steadily going up in India, that point to the need for capacity creation for the products. This article discusses the current market status for phenol and acetone in India and internationally and the investment opportunity .
PHENOL Phenol (C6H6O ) is colourless yellow crystals which turn pink on exposure to light and air. Important applications for phenol Application sector Nature of application Synthetic Resin In production of Phenol formaldehyde resins Phenol formaldehyde resins are used in laminates , plywood, foundry, moulding powder, leather, paint etc. Pharmaceuticals In the manufacture of drugs and drug intermediates Disinfectants Slimicide Dyestuffs In the manufacture of dyestuff intermediate Leather sector As a tanning agent Derivative products Bisphenol - A
Alkyl phenols like Nonyl, Octyl, Dodecyl,Cumyl phenol etc. 
Polyphenylene oxide
Chlorinated phenol
Metaphenoxy benzaldehyde
ACETONE Acetone (CH3COCH3) is a colourless oily liquid with fragrant odour. Important applications for acetone Acetone is used in the manufacture of bisphenol-A, which is a raw material for Epoxy and Polycarbonate resins and aceto cyanohydrin, which is a feedstock for methyl methacrylate (MMA). This article further discusses the following :
  • Process outline
  • Indian installed capacity for phenol/acetone
  • Indian producers for phenol/acetone
  • Supply scenario for phenol in India
  • Indian demand analysis for phenol
  • Pattern of application sectorwise demand for phenol
  • Projected demand supply scenario for phenol
  • Indian demand analysis for acetone
  • Pattern of application sectorwise demand for acetone
  • Projected demand supply scenario for acetone
  • Global scenario for phenol
    • Global installed capacity
    • Global demand level
    • Growth rate in demand
    • Pattern of sectorwise demand
    • Closure of plants
    • New projects
    • Global outlook
  • Global scenario for acetone
    • Global capacity
    • Global demand
    • Pattern of sectorwise demand
    • Non acetone process for MMA
    • New projects
    • Outlook for phenol/acetone
Nandini Consultancy Centre, a renowned firm of chemical engineers and project consultants based at Chennai and Singapore has brought out investigative publication on “Pig iron and Titania Slag  Project from Ilmenite”. The publication has been brought out on the basis of extensive study and primary research.   The highlights of the publication is provided in this article. Price of the publication:  Rs.7500/- For further details, please contact:NANDINI CONSULTANCY CENTRE PVT. LTD., 
Phone: 91-44-24461346 / 43511945
Pig iron and Titania Slag are produced as co-products from the mineral ilmenite by electrosmelting reduction of ilmenite. Along with every tonne of titania slag,  500 kilo gram of pig iron would be produced. Pig iron is mainly of two grades namely, foundry grade and steel making grade. Titania slag is the primary product of ilmenite smelting, and serves as a feedstock to the Titanium dioxide pigment industry and titania sponge. This article contains the following details :
  • Process outline
  • Raw material requirements for Titania slag
  • Ilmenite deposits
    • Estimated ilmenite reserves in India
  • World installed capacity for titania slag
  • Global pattern of installed capacity for titania slag
  • Case for setting up pig iron and titania slag project from ilmenite in India
Ossein Ossein is the organic matter of animal bones that are rich in collagen. Hydrochloric acid is used in extracting ossein from bones. Ossein is used for the production of gelatin. Gelatine Pure and technical gelatine Gelatine is a mixture of jelling proteins obtained by partial hydrolysis of collagen from animal connective tissues, bone and skin. Technical gelatine Technical gelatine have inferior physical properties in terms of jelling strength and viscosity compared to pure gelatine. Technical gelatine contains high proportion of non protein material than pure gelatine. Technical gelatine is used for non edible grade purposes, whereas pure gelatine is used for edible/food and in pharma industry. Type of gelatine           Type A           Type A gelatine is derived by acid treatment and has pH 3.8 to 5.5           Type B           Type B is derived by alkali extraction process and has pH 5 to 7.5 Property Type A Type B PH                                   3.8 to 5.5 5 to 7.5 Gel strength                             75 to 300 gm 75 to 275 gm Viscosity 20 to 75 mp 20 to 75 mp Ash                                                                    
0.3 to 0.5%          
0.5 to 2.0%
This article further discusses the following details:
  • Specification of technical grade gelatine
  • Application Of Gelatine
  • Installed capacity of gelatine
  • Producers of gelatine
  • All India import details
  • All India export details
  • Demand driver
  • Demand analysis
  • Indian demand for gelatine
  • Process for ossein/gelatine from animal bone
  • Process development
  • Global scenario
    • Global pattern of demand for gelatine
    • Global growth rate in demand
    • Global demand
    • Selected global producers
    • Global production sites
    • Global use pattern of raw material
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Prognosis
According to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Organic Monitor, the global market for organic products in 2007 has been estimated at US$ 46 billion, growing at a CAGR of around 20% since 1999. Demand for organic products are concentrated mainly in North America (43%) and Europe (54%).  According to Organic Monitor, these two regions comprise 97 percent of global revenues from sales of organic products.  Asia, Latin America and Australia are important producers and exporters of organic products.  The countries with the largest markets for organic products are the United States, followed by Germany and the UK. Fresh produce is the leading organic product category, comprising one-third of total revenues from sales of organic products in the world.  Organic fruit and vegetables, such as apples, oranges, carrots and potatoes are some of the typical items, which have large demand in the organic markets.  Dairy product and beverages are the other major organic product categories. This article discusses the organic market in the following regions:
  • USA
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • Switzerland
  • Other countries in Europe
    • Asia pacific region
    • Percentage share by value in the Asia and Pacific
Researchers at IBM said that they have discovered a way to make plastic from plants that could replace petroleum-based products. IBM’s Almaden Research Center in Northern California and Stanford University researchers said that the discovery could herald an era of sustainability for the  plastics industry. More details are provided in the article.
A team of Japanese researchers has developed a mosquito that spreads vaccine instead of disease. The new research, led by Associate Professor Shigeto Yoshida from the Jichi Medical University in Japan, has revealed that mosquito genetic engineering can turn the transmitter into a natural ‘flying vaccinator’, providing a new strategy for biological control over the disease. More details are provided in the article.
Sandwiched between the Kraft Paper Mills and the large consumers, the Indian Corrugated Packaging Industry is at dismal state of affairs. Industry's major raw material, Kraft Paper, has been recently subjected to price increases, pushing the cost of production of Corrugated Packaging by almost 25%. To aggravate the situation further, the prices of all other critical inputs of this industry have shot up substantially. The starch prices have more than doubled in the last one year. The price of Stitching wire has also gone up almost 40%, primarily due to hikes in the cost of steel. Cost of labour has also gone up substantially. This article further discusses the details.
There is pit-falls of relying solely on uranium fuel for atomic reactors.  The world must revive research in utilizing thorium. India is perhaps the  only country engaged in this endeavour, to ensure that energy is sustainable for the next few centuries. This article further discusses the details. BIOSIMILARS – RECENT DEVELOPMENTS Biosimilars are officially approved new versions of innovator biopharmaceutical products, following patent expiry. In crude terms, biosimilars can be termed as generic version of original biopharma products. Unlike the pharmaceutical market that is flooded with generic versions of drugs, the biosimilar market or market for generic versions of biological medicines, is relatively untapped. The global market for biosimilars is estimated at over $19 billion and like all new things, the industry expects to make significant profits in the initial years. This article discusses the regulations and the activities of the following organisations :
  • Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.
  • Avesthagen
  • Reliance Life Sciences
  • Others
PLANT CLOSURES The article discusses the plans for closure of selected units by the following players
  • Clariant plans more plant closures
  • Showa Shell to close part of Keihin refinery
  • Refinery strikes at Total lead to closure of PP capacity
  • BASF to close MA plant in Belgium
  • Germany Krummel reactor could stay off throughout 2010 HPL shuts down plant due to operational snag
  • SQM cutting production at two mines
  • LyondellBasell to close PP plant in Italy
  • Ineos closes PVC plant
  • Invista to  stop PTA production at Wilmington, NC
  • Hills to demolish Texas plant
ANTI DUMPING PAGE The antidumping measures introduced in  the various countries in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed:
  • PTFE
  • Plastic processing machines
  • Barium carbonate
UPDATE ON BIOFUEL The following recent developments on biofuel industry are discussed:
  • Biodiesel blending credit in USA
  • IOC, Ruchi Soya in biofuel venture
UPDATE ON NANO TECHNOLOGY The following recent development on nano technology industry is discussed:
  • Nanotech device for desalination
NEWS ROUND UP The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed: INTERNATIONAL
  • Dow sets up Middle East PU alliance
  • Ethanol plant in Canada
  • Carbon tax only after other possibilities are exhausted, says EU
  • Gas pipelines expansion projects
  • Cairn’s estimate of Rajasthan oil field
  • Coal India, RCF, GAIL plan gassification unit in Orissa
  • CDM  project of Gujarat Alkali
  • 462 million metric tonne output target of Coal India
  • Blast at NFL plant
CHINA NEWS The recent developments on the following products/events are updated :
  • Polysilicon production line in Inner Mongolia
  • Polysilicone project in Leshan
  • Coal-based gas project in Jiangsu
  • High purity cyclohexanone plant
  • Ionic membrane for chlor alkali units
    • Shenhua Group/Dow Chemical
    • PetroChina – Daqing Petrochemical
    • PetroChina – FushunPetrochemical
    • Sinopec / SK Energy
    • Shenhua Baotou Coal Chemical
    • Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical
    • PetroChina – Sichuan Petrochemical
    • Sinopec – Zhenhai Oil Refining & Chemical
    • Kuwait Petroleum Corpn./ Sinopec
    • CNOOC Per Shell Petrochemicals, Phase II
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT The recent developments on the following technology efforts are highlighted
  • New method to convert CO2  to CO
  • Biofuel from agro waste
  • Researchers create sugar from sunlight
  • Seaweed bread
  • Methyl tin mercaptide
  • Catalyst for converting algae to biodiesel
  • Semi superconductor
  • Bio Fuel Based Acrylic Acid – Recent Developments
AGROCHEMICAL PAGE                 The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • GM potato
  • Beta-carotene content in maize
  • Northern sugar mills trying out new cane varieties
  • Urea demand trend in India
  • Indian Honey Has Antibiotics, Traces Of Heavy Metals, Says Eu
ENERGY PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • Carbon tax in India
  • Fiscal Incentives For Energy Sector
  • Environmental Issues In Solar Power Industries
  • Hydropower projects in India
  • NTPC’s plans for  power generation capacity
  • Project For Transporting Natural Gas From Russia Via Baltic Sea
PRICE DETAILS - INTERNATIONAL Global price trends on the following products are provided :
  • Polyvinyl chloride
  • Butadiene
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Rubber
  • Expandable polystyrene
  • Orthoxylene
  • Bulk Chemical Prices
  • LNG Regasification Capacity In India  And Pipeline Projects
  • Gas Pipelines In Southern India
  • Need For Developing Thorium Technology For Nuclear Fuel
  • Co2  Based Methanol Plant
  • IGCC Technology For Use Of Coal
  • Tender
  • Chemicals Imported At The Chennai Port During The Month Of  February 2009
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