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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Sep 2006

Coal to tar|Refrigerant substitution|Cfc|Hfc|Fumed silica|Flare gas
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
COAL TO OIL- RECENT GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT
FUMED SILICA - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
REFRIGERANTS - EMERGING TRENDS AND SUBSTITUTION POSSIBILITIES
FLARE GAS MEASUREMENTS ON OIL AND GAS RIGS
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

IS THE WORLD CHEMICAL INDUSTRY BECOMING EXCESSIVELY DEPENDENT ON CHINA?

The large multi national companies have been pouring millions of dollars of investment in China during the last few years. While they also invest in other Asian countries like India, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, such investment in these countries are only a fraction of the investments being made in China.

Obviously, the compulsions for the multi national companies is to find investment and market outlet for their products and they seem to believe that China can absorb very large quantity of products in its domestic market in the coming years due to its size and population. Further, with the lack of space for investment in Europe and North America and high level of public sensitivity and perception about the environmental issues due to the investments in chemical projects in the Western countries, they seem to think that investment in China would be a better option.

The multi national companies are placing enormous confidence and faith in the capability and commitment of the Government of China about ensuring peace on the labour front, control any social upheaval on environmental issues and protect the interest of the multinational companies. They seem to think that China is an ideal investment target since .the government can effectively control the people and the country if necessary. which may not be the case in country like India. Time alone will tell as to what extent the expectations of the multi national companies would be justified.

Perhaps, the multi national companies and the Governments in Europe and North America also think that by encouraging huge overseas investment in China and by the China based industries buying technology from Western countries, China would be as much dependent on the multi national companies, as the dependence of the multi national companies on China.

Most of the huge chemical projects by multi national companies in China are still under construction and one would not know at this stage as to what extent the market in China can absorb the products produced.

While, no doubt, the population in China is very huge, it need not mean that the purchasing capacity in China would be proportionately huge in the immediate future.

This would depend on the growth of the overall Chinese economy and the extent to which the distribution of national income can be made amongst the different segment of population in the country, so that the overall purchasing capacity in the country would go up.

There are several problems in China which are similar to that of India.

In spite of huge population in India, it is seen that the country cannot absorb even the rice that it produces fully, as persons with hungry stomach do not have the resources to buy. Those in the affluent category cannot afford to buy beyond a level since they cannot also consume. China may well find a situation in the near future when the large number of chemical products coming out of China due to huge investments by multi national companies could remain without buyers in China, forcing the projects in China to look for overseas market. This could affect the multi national companies themselves and their market in other parts of the world.

The fact that all is not well with the indigenous chemical industries in China is well revealed by the number of serious accidents taking place in chemical industries in China in recent times including the coal mines, which point to the fact that expansion of chemical industries in China are taking place without adequately preparing the country and the industries for the same. The Chinese Government has now taken note of the situation and is trying to enforce environmental auditing and regulations in a big way. However, it may find that several of the existing industries in China may not be able to implement such environmental regulations due to uneconomic size and investment constraints and may face closure. Further, many of them may find it extremely difficult to compete with the huge multi national companies present in China who could target to sell their products in China market.

Ultimately, the multi national companies may realize that their dependence on China has become so high that they cannot withdraw and may expect the governments in Europe and North America to protect their interests in China in whatever way appropriate
and possible.

COAL TO OIL- RECENT GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT

For decades, scientists have known how to convert coal into a liquid that can be refined into gasoline or diesel fuel. But everyone thought the process was too expensive to be practical.

The lone exception was South Africa.

Sasol Ltd., a partly state-owned company, built several coal to liquids plants including the ones at Secunda and became the world’s leading company in of coal-to-liquids technology.

Now, oil prices are above $70 a barrel and Sasol has emerged as the key player at the center of the world’s latest alternative energy boom.

Coal-to-oil technology dates back to the 1920s, when two German chemists, Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch, developed a process to convert coal into a gas and then use it to make synthetic fuels. Coal-to-oil technology helped fuel the Nazi war machine, which lacked access to sufficient crude oil. International oil companies also experimented with the process but put it aside because oil was cheaper.

South Africa took a different view. The country lacked oil, but has enormous deposits of coal, much of which has limited market value because of its poor quality. In 1950, the government set up Sasol as a state- owned company and authorized funding for its first project, a coal-to-liquids facility called Sasolburg in the South African countryside.

This article further discusses the following details

  • Developments in South Africa
  • Sasol’s global initiatives
  • Environmental issues
  • Project in China
  • Project in USA
  • Cost aspects and profitability
FUMED SILICA, INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Product Characteristics

Appearance

Fine White Powder

Synonyms

Dioxosilane

CAS No.

7631-86-9

Molecular formula

SiO 2

Odour

Odourless

Solubility

Insoluble in water

PH

4.0

Surface area (m 2 /g)

175 to 225

Particle size (geometric mean, um)

0.17

% Particles <5.0um

99.9

% Particles <1.0um

99.5

Grades

  • Untreated grade (Hydrophilic grade)
  • Treated grade (Hydrophobic grade)

Important end user Sector

  • Cosmetics, Personnel care products and Pharmaceutical
  • Inks
  • Paints and Coatings
  • Sealants and Adhesive
  • Silicone Rubber

This article contains the following details about Indian scenario:

  1. Nature of Applications
  2. Producer
  3. Imports
  4. Exports
  5. Substitution possibilities
  6. Demand drivers
  7. Indian Demand
  8. Application Sectorwise demand
  9. Industry prospects
REFRIGERANTS - EMERGING TRENDS AND SUBSTITUTION POSSIBILITIES

Replacement of CFCs by HFCs

In 1990, CFCs represented 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In 2002, the emissions from the use of HFCs were about 0.5 per cent of total global GHG emissions

This reduction represents about four times the objective of the Kyoto Protocol. Furthermore, the responsible use of HFCs in energy efficient, cost effective applications continue to help in achieving its targets.

This article contains the following details:

  • Hydrocarbons
  • HFC125
  • HFC 245fa
  • HFC 245fa blown foams
  • HFC 152a/Pentanes
  • Cyclopentane blown foams
  • Use of Alternative HFC’s
  • HFC-134A-Global demand supply-Scenario
  • Characteristics
  • Producer’s specification
  • Usage sector
  • Global price-Period August 2006
  • Global Installed capacity-Period 2006
  • Global producers
  • New projects
  • Global HFC-134A production
  • Demand for HFC-134A by End-user sector
  • Broad outline of manufacturing process
  • Prognosis
FLARE GAS MEASUREMENTS ON OIL AND GAS RIGS

With the EU Emissions Trading Scheme now coming into force, there will be increased pressure on oil and gas rig operators to demonstrate that they are measuring their emissions correctly.

The operators have to ensure that they are measuring flare gas emissions as accurately and verifiably as possible.

This means that some form of flow metering will have to be installed. Space and operational constraints often result in meters being installed in less than ideal configurations, which can lead to uncertainties about the accuracy of the measurement.

NEL, the international technology services organisation, was presented with this problem when Shell Exploration and Production wanted to install ultrasonic flare-gas meters on its Cormorant Alpha and North Cormorant platforms as part of an upgrade.

This article provides more details.

OTHER ARTICLES
  • Does R & D Pay?
  • India’s Fuel Consumption Dropped says the Study
  • Prospects for Pharma Industry in China-Findings of the Study
  • Anti Dumping Page
  • Update on Carbon Trading
  • Safety & Accident Page
  • Mosaic Tiles from Fly Ash
  • Hydrocarbons may get dual regulators
  • Problems of Match units in Sivakasi
  • Process Flow-Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol Copolymer
  • Disposal of Carbon Dioxide-Technology Development
  • Silver based Antimicrobial Technology
  • Indian Graphite Scenario
  • IICT is Forging Ahead
  • Organic Liquid Fertiliser
  • China News
  • News Round up-International/India
  • Amines – Findings of the study
  • New Chemical for Fire Extinguishers Developed
  • Update on Biofuel
  • Herbal Page-India
  • Carbon Nanofibers-Growing Prospects
  • Pharma page-International/India
  • Update on Nanotechnology
  • Agrochemical Page-International/India
  • Update on Pesticides- International/India
  • Update on Biotechnology
  • Environmental page
  • Technology Developments- International/India
  • Energy Page-International
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code- Pat LXVI
  • New Projects-International
  • Directory of Chemical Industries in China-Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations-Part XXXXI
  • Price Details-International
  • Business Opportunities
  • Tender
  • Chemicals Exported at Chennai Port During the Month of May 2006
  • Chemicals Imported at Chennai Port During the Month of June 2006
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