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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Aug 2013

EVOH | COAL BED METHANE| REACH | CAUVERY BASIN
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : PHARMA COMPANIES SHOULD NOT ONLY BE ETHICAL, BUT SHOULD ALSO APPEAR TO BE SO
PRODUCT PROFILE GLYCOL MODIFIED POLY ETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE(PETG) RESIN
ETHYLENE VINYL ALCOHOL (EVOH) INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
COAL BED METHANE PROJECT IN TAMIL NADU
SHOULD THE DURATION OF ENGINEERING COURSE BE FIVE YEARS - WHAT THE ENGINEERS THINK ?
GAS PIPELINE PROJECT IN TAMIL NADU SHOULD NOT BE ABANDONED
UPDATE ON REACH 2,923 MORE CHEMICALS REGISTERED BY REACH DEADLINE
GAS ALLOCATION FOR FERTILISER SECTOR
EXPLORATION EFFORTS IN CAUVERY BASIN
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

PHARMA COMPANIES SHOULD NOT ONLY BE ETHICAL, BUT SHOULD ALSO APPEAR TO BE SO

The recent move of the Government of China to regulate pharma sector has once again brought to focus on the ethical standards of pharma companies around the world.

China announced nation wide crack down on the sale of illegal medicines and it said that it would tighten the pharma industry regulation. State Food and Drug administration in China said that 6 months campaign would also target illegal online drug sale and sale of fake traditional Chinese medicines.

China launched investigation into British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, which has sent shock wave amongst multi national pharmaceutical companies around the world, particularly those operating in China,Chinese police accused GlaxoSmithKline of bribing officials and doctors to boost sales and raise the price of its medicines. They said that GSK transferred up to 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to 700 travel agencies and consultancies in China over six years to facilitate the bribes..

On top of the police probe, China’s National Development and Reform Commission is examining prices charged by 60 local and international drug makers including units of GSK,, Merck & Co and Astellas Pharma.

The GSK investigation is the highest profile corporate probe in China since four executives from mining company Rio Tinto were jailed in March 2010 for taking bribes and stealing commercial secrets. Three of those executives were Chinese, while the fourth was a Chinese born Australian.

Such issues relating to unethical behavior of pharma companies are not only prevalent in China, but also in several developing countries including India. Several allegations have been made about fake drug circulation in the market and out dated drugs being sold in the retail medical shops. The pharma companies bribing the medical professionals and hospitals to prescribe their drugs have also been repeatedly alleged.

Clinical trials being carried out by pharma companies also have created considerable controversies.

In India, several traditional medicines and ayurvedic drugs are being sold without proper certification and the entire scenario is brimming with suspicion , confusion and uncertainties, creating fear in the minds of the consumers and patients.

Such trends do not boost the image of pharma companies however big they may be and however large the range of products produced and the annual turn over.

The recent controversy regarding the demand for ban on antidiabetic drug pioglitazone and the government applying the ban and later on revoking it is a sample of the state of affairs in Indian pharma sector.

The pharma players should recognize the problem and initiate corrective measures, instead of simply ignoring them.

PRODUCT PROFILE - GLYCOL MODIFIED POLY ETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE(PETG) RESIN

PETG is a copolyester of the same broad family as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with different properties, particularly maintaining high clarity even in thick sections, which make it a choice material for some upmarket application like cosmetic packaging.

PETG is sort of plastic without nitrogen, sulphur and halogen components and without the need for stabilisers and plasticisers.

PETG meets the needs of the consumers by having heavy guage sheet for a higher clarity resin to be less expensive, than polycarbonate and significantly tougher than polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is an amorphous co polymerised ester.

PETG is colourless and can be semi rigid to rigid.

Physical Form Solid (pellet)
Odour Slight
Specific Gravity > 1

Softening Point

> 100 deg.C
Stability Stable
Incompatibility Material reacts with strong oxidizing agents

Salient characteristics of PETG

  • High transparency
  • Impact resistance
  • High rigidity and hardness
  • Can retain toughness at low temperatures.
  • Light weight, depending on its thickness.
  • Fully recyclable and can be recovered for additional use.

PETG has good gas and fair moisture barrier properties as well as good barrier properties to alcohol and solvents..

It’s transparency is similar to poly carbonate.. Other properties such as rigidity and toughness in particular, are also close to poly carbonate,.

Adverse effects

PETG has a tendency to absorb atmospheric moisture, which cause degradation during processing. This results in decrease of molecular weight of the resin and in reduced properties of the final products.

In order to avoid this degradation, PETG should be sufficiently dried before processing.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Applications
  • Comparison with other polymers
  • Manufacturing process
  • Processing method
  • Important global manufacturers
  • Global demand
ETHYLENE VINYL ALCOHOL (EVOH) - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
Synonym Ethylene vinyl acetate-vinyl alcohol copolymer, Ethylene vinyl alcohol, EVOH
Appearance White to light straw-colored chip or pellet
CAS Number 26221-27-2
Molecular Formula (CH2-CH2)m-(CH2-CH2)n-(CH2-CH)OH
Odour Odourless
Stability Stable at room temperature
Incompatability With strong oxidizing material

Grades

The ethylene contents of commercial ethylene vinyl alcohol polymer range from about 30 to 50 mole percent (20 to 40 weight percent) ethylene.

The suitable grade of EVOH is typically selected by the consumer, based upon barrier property and processability requirements.

In general, low ethylene content grades (i.e., 29 mol%) offer better barrier properties than high ethylene content grades (i.e., 44 mol%).

Conversely, high ethylene content grades generally offer better processability.

The melt viscosity is another factor to consider when selecting a specific grade. The melt viscosity of the selected grade should be compatible with the customer's processability requirements.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Application
  • Global players
  • Global production
  • Global demand trend
  • Process of manufacture
  • Technology development efforts in China
  • Prognosis
COAL BED METHANE PROJECT IN TAMIL NADU; NEED TO BALANCE THE INTEREST OF INDUSTRIALAND AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

Fumed silica is a collection of very-fine non-porous particles .

Fumed silica is used as a reinforcing, thickening, abrasive, thixotropic, suspending or anti-caking agent. It is used in a wide-range of end-market applications in the automotive, construction, microelectronics and consumer products industries. Fumed silica improves the performance of adhesives, sealants, cosmetics, inks, toners, silicone rubber, coatings, polishing slurries and pharmaceuticals.

Appearance Fine white powder
Synonyms Dioxosilane
CAS No. 7631-86-9
Molecular formula SiO2
Odour Odourless
pH 4
Solubility Insoluble in water

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Application
  • Grade
  • Indian Import
  • Indian producer
  • Substitution possibilities
  • Indian demand for Fumed silica
  • Growth rate in demand:
  • Global scenario
  • Scenario in China
  • Production process outline
  • Prognosis
SHOULD THE DURATION OF ENGINEERING COURSE BE FIVE YEARS - WHAT THE ENGINEERS THINK?

Nandini Consultancy Centre, a chemical business consultancy firm , based in Chennai and Singapore organised an All India essay competition on the subject “Should the duration of engineering course be extended to five years?”

Objectives

In recent years, the number of engineering colleges have multiplied several times all over India and the number of graduates passing out from engineering colleges every year has increased to several lakhs, with one state Tamil Nadu alone having more than two lakhs seats in engineering colleges. Concern has been expressed by several educationists and industry representatives that many fresh engineering graduates passing out do not have the adequate standards to be readily recruited for jobs in the core sector. There seem to be a view that apart from lowered eligibility level for admission to engineering colleges, rushing on with the syllabus in just four years course duration (which was five years earlier) could also be one reason for the standards not being at the desirable level.

The objective of the essay competition is to know the views of the concerned persons and evolve appropriate suggestions and recommendations.

The essays were submitted by number of senior and junior engineers as well as students of engineering colleges.

While majority of the engineering students are of the view that duration of the course should not be extended , overwhelming number of recently passed out engineers and senior engineers as well as some teachers are of the view that there is strong case for extending the duration of the course to five years.

The highlights of the observations and recommendations expressed are given in the article.

GAS PIPELINE PROJECT IN TAMIL NADU SHOULD NOT BE ABANDONED

Chairman of Gas Authority of India Ltd.,(GAIL) has said that GAIL may abandon the Tamil Nadu portion of the Kochi-Koottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore natural gas pipeline project ,if the Tamil Nadu Government would not give its decision within a month, on according permission for installation of the gas pipeline running through Tamil Nadu.

Though, on the face of it, this statement appears like a deadline given to Tamil Nadu Government by GAIL, this appears to really reflect on the genuine anxiety of the GAIL on the matter.

Obviously, Chairman of GAIL is concerned about the delay in the Tamil Nadu portion of the pipeline project and consequent loss of time, loss of opportunities and huge wastage of investment that would happen, if the gas pipeline project were to be abandoned in Tamil Nadu at this advanced stage of activities .Perhaps, the GAIL’s Chairman is thinking that future of this pipeline project should be decided one way or the other without further loss of time, so that GAIL can chalk out alternate action plans.

The above topic is further discussed in this article.

UPDATE ON REACH - 2,923 MORE CHEMICALS REGISTERED BY REACH DEADLINE

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA; Helsinki) says that 2,923 more substances were registered by the second registration deadline of the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (Reach) regulation on 31 May.

The substances had been registered since the first Reach deadline, 1 December 2010.

Meanwhile, 696 substances that had been registered for the December 2010 deadline were registered by additional companies that joined the previous registrants.

ECHA says that 9,084 registration dossiers had been submitted by a total of 3,215 companies by 31 May. The second REACH registration deadline applies to phase-in substances manufactured or imported in the European Union in quantities of 100–1,000 metric tonnes per year per legal entity. The most hazardous substances in this category had to be registered by the first REACH deadline, however. Phase-in substances are chemicals that have been on the EU market for a long period of time.

The above topic is further discussed in this article.

GAS ALLOCATION FOR FERTILISER SECTOR

The existing policy according top priority to the fertiliser sector in the allocation of natural gas, whose availability is only falling, will continue.

An empowered group of ministers (EGoM), which met on this issue, decided that the power sector would not be treated on par with the fertiliser sector in allocation of this scarce resource, for the latter having a direct bearing on the fortunes of the farming community.

Heeding to the views of the power ministry that sought a status upgrade for the sector given that generation capacities of 18,000 MW are operating below optimum plant load factor due to paucity of gas, the EGoM, however, resolved to put in place a mechanism to enhance the disbursal of gas to the sector.

Natural gas allocation for fertilizer sector is further discussed in this article.

EXPLORATION EFFORTS IN CAUVERY BASIN

Background details

Cauvery basin covers an area of 1.50 lakh sq km, covering 25,000 sq km on land, 30,000 sq km in shallow waters and 95,000 sq km in deep waters.

Cauvery basin is under-explored

Earlier, it was thought to be unviable to produce gas from the region, when the price of natural gas was $4.2 per MMBTU. However, now that the price has been raised, to what could well be upwards of $6.5 per MMBTU, gas production from Cauvery basin will be viable.

Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons speaks of the basin in favourable terms, noting that exploration efforts are “still young”, confined mainly to the land area and close to the coast.

Even with exploration efforts still nascent, the basin is an “established hydrocarbon province”. It is proven to have a resource base of 700 million tonnes — 430 million tonnes on land and 270 offshore. Offshore is what holds out promise.

Exploration details of following companies at Cauvery basin is discussed in this article

  • ONGC
  • Hardy Oil
  • Reliance Industries
  • GAIL
  • Cairn Energy
OTHER FEATURES

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

The antidumping measures introduced in the various countries in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed

  • Perchlorethylene
  • Pyridine
  • Sodium perchlorate
  • Xanthan gum
  • Solar panels from China
  • Jet fuel imports
  • Rubber chemicals
  • Toluidine
  • Dimethyl Ketone

PLANT CLOSURE

The article discusses the following closure plans

  • Mysore Petrochemicals to shut phthalic anhydride plant in Karnataka
  • Solazyme and Roquette Frères dissolve JV
  • Tosoh closes ethylene amines plant
  • Ineos to close expandable polystyrene plant in Germany

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

The following article discusses the following accidents that occurred in the various countries

  • Fire at Gujarat Refinery plant
  • Extensive damage to Geismar cracker in USA
  • Gulf oil spill: Halliburton says it destroyed evidence
  • Williams’ Geismar cracker off-line after fatal explosion
  • Accident at CF Industries nitrogen plant kills one

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Benzoic acid and dibenzoates facilities
  • Linde investing in La Porte ASU, gasification train
  • Liquid carbon dioxide
  • Mexichem buys PolyOne’s vinyls resin assets
  • Ethylene plants in USA
  • PVOH film
  • Acrylic acid
  • Acrylamide
  • Metallocene PE
  • BOPP
  • Alpha-olefins plant in US
  • Rockwood reportedly cancels TiO2 sale, spin-off possible
  • DuPont exploring sale of performance chemicals unit
  • Triethyl aluminium
  • BASF to increase global capacities for BDO and PTMEG
  • Silicone
  • Biobased succinic acid plant
  • Carbon Composite Materials

CHINA NEWS

VESTA TECHNOLOGY FOR SUBSTITUTE NATURAL GAS

Foster Wheeler’s VESTA SNG technology is a novel methanation technology to produce Substitute Natural Gas (SNG) from synthesis gas obtained from gasification of either coal or petroleum coke.

The VESTA technology is based on once-through operation with no recirculation, avoiding expensive compressors. The technology is based on a maximum operating temperature of 550 deg.C, avoiding any metal dusting formation and enabling simpler reactors to be used.

The technology can operate with syngas from any commercial gasification technology.

The VESTA technology is designed to be simple and safe to operate and to be implemented at a low total investment cost.

The above subject is further discussed in this article .

The recent developments on the following products/events in China are discussed

  • Tert. Butylamine
  • MTO Plant
  • Iron oxide pigments site in China
  • Polyacetal joint venture
  • Reuse of scrap tyre rubber

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

CONVERSION OF CO2 INTO METHANOL

Université Laval researchers have developed a method for converting CO2 into methanol, which can be used as a low-emissions fuel for vehicles. The team led by Professor Frédéric-Georges Fontaine presents the details of this discovery in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Researchers have been looking for a way to convert CO2 into methanol in a single step using energy-efficient processes for years.

In the presence of oxygen, methanol combustion produces CO2 and water, explained Professor Fontaine. Chemists are looking for catalysts that would yield the opposite reaction. That would allow us to slash greenhouse gas emissions by synthesizing a fuel that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Technology development of conversion of carbon dioxide into methanol is further discussed in this article.

The recent developments on the following products discussed

  • Patch to protect from mosquitoe bites
  • Technology upgrading efforts in algae bio fuel
  • ODC chlor-alkali technology
  • Isocyanate-free coatings

BATTERIES FROM RICE HUSK

Lithium-ion (Li) batteries are important for modern technological progress because they power the electronics and hybrid electric vehicles industries and are an important component of renewable energy methods.

However, as advancements in these fields are made, Li batteries are also expected to perform better – such as have higher charge capacity.

At the moment, layers of graphite are used inside Li batteries to store electrical charge from chemical reactions. Silicon has been suggested as a replacement because its charge capacity is about 400 times that of graphite. It is resilient to heat and easy to store and dispose.

And now, scientists from South Korea have proposed an alternate route that is both shorter and eco-friendly.

The recent development of batteries from rice husk is further discussed in this article.

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

Kerala approves tapping sweet toddy from coconut

The Kerala Government has given its nod for tapping neera or unfermented sap from coconut across the State. Neera, sweet toddy that is a non-alcoholic drink, is got from the immature inflorescence of coconut.

Neera tapping will be done in units of 1,500 coconut trees in each district across the State initially as a pilot project.

Recent development in Kerala in tapping sweet toddy from coconut is further discussed in this article.

PHARMA PAGE

CONTROVERSY OVER DIABETES DRUG- PIOGLITAZONE

There is growing evidence that the ban the Health Ministry of Government of India imposed on June 18 on pioglitazone — a widely used anti-diabetes oral drug — was taken with undue haste and in great secrecy.

There was no large scale scientific study undertaken to know the risk of bladder cancer caused by the drug before imposing the ban. The drug was approved for use in India in early 2000s and many thousands of patients are using this drug.

Ironically, the first ever meeting to discuss the safety profile of the drug was undertaken on July 11, after the ban. The expert committee meeting was convened when the government came under severe flak from diabetologists across the country.

Controversy about the diabetic drug pioglitazone is discussed in this article.

PRE-FILLED SYRINGES FOR SAFER DRUG DELIVERY - EMERGING TRENDS

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies such as Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Aurobindo Pharma, Biocon and Bharat Biotech, among others, are increasingly looking at new drug delivery systems for better patient compliance. One such solution is the pre-filled syringes (PFS) segment.

PFS are single use, disposable syringes filled with a prescribed unit dose of medication, which are replacing the traditional vial and syringe format to deliver protein-based drugs, sustained release formulations and other medications.

Globally, there are six companies manufacturing PFS — BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co), Schott, Stevanato Group, Weigao, Gerresheimer and Nipro.

Recent development about pre filled syringes is discussed in this article.

ENERGY PAGE

INDIA'S OIL RESERVES TO LAST ONLY FOR 20 YEARS

In both oil and gas, it is almost a hand-to-mouth existence for India right now, Roughly 80% of the country's oil needs are presently met through imports.

India can produce oil only for the next 20 years going by the official estimate of its current recoverable reserves. The situation is not very different in the case of natural gas either. The situation could improve only if the country finds more oil and gas fields in the coming years.

India holds reserves of about 761 million tonnes (mt) in April 2012 at a production rate of 38 mt per year.

India fares poorly not only against oil-rich regions like West Asia, which have over 80 years of reserves in their kitty but also when compared with the global average of 50 years.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

NATURAL GAS PRICE IN INDIA

Within days of approving a new look gas pricing policy, the Government of India has “virtually withdrawn” the officially declared $8.4 million metric British thermal unit (mmbtu) price to be in force from April 2014, making it clear that it will be the Rangarajan formula and the market forces which will decide the price in future.

At present, on the basis of the Rangarajan formula, the price for natural gas in India for the quarter April-June 2013 comes to $6.83 per mmBtu.

The price of natural gas in India is further discussed in this article.

ONGC’S COAL-BED METHANE BLOCKS

ONGC is now considering re-distributing the stake in North Karanpura and Ranigunj to other bidders for the respective coal bed methane blocks.

ONGC currently holds 90 per cent operating interest in Ranigunj and 80 per cent each in Bokaro and North Karanpura. Coal India (Ranigunj) and IndianOil (Bokaro and North Karanpura) hold the residual stake as participatory interests.

Though rated as the most prolific CBM blocks in the country with each having one trillion cubic feet of reserves, ONGC failed to turn them into producing assets during its decade long exploratory campaign.

This article discusses about ONGC’s re distribution of coal bed methane blocks to it’s other partners .

ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE

New rules and regulation / ban on the following products are discussed in this article

  • New rules for formaldehyde emissions
  • Proposed ban on fluorinated gases
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Ex-factory prices of chemicals in China in June 2013
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at the Chennai port during the month of 2013
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