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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal,  June 2015

NEEM COATED UREA|CALCIUM CARBIDE|CELLULOSE ACETATE
Highlights of Some of the Articles

KOCHI LNG PROJECT IS NO GOVERNMENT’S CONCERN
PETRONET’S PLANS FOR KOCHI LNG
COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHINESE CHEMICAL COMPANIES IN INDIA
GLOBAL OVERSUPPLY SCENARIO OF LIGHT NAPHTHA - FINDINGS OF A STUDY
NEEM COATED UREA - GOVT’S PRAGMATIC POLICY APPROACH
CALCIUM CARBIDE – SCENARIO IN CHINA
PROUCT PROFILE - TERTIARY BUTYLAMINE
CELLULOSE ACETATE – INCREASING DEMAND IN ASIA
SYNTHETIC ZEOLITE - PRODUCT PROFILE
KG-D6 OUTPUT TREND - CAUSE FOR CONCERN
PROJECTED GAS AVAILABILITY IN INDIA - GOVERNMENT’S CLAIM
NATURAL GAS AS FUEL OF THE FUTURE WILL IT REPLACE COAL ?
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

TALK OF THE MONTH
KOCHI LNG PROJECT IS NO GOVERNMENT’S CONCERN

Kochi LNG terminal was set up in Kerala with the investment of around Rs.4000 crores and  was commissioned  after protracted  delay. Other LNG terminal at Dahej in Gujarat which started at the same time as Kochi LNG terminal for implementation, has already been completed and is operating well.

While Kochi LNG terminal is now ready to receive the imported natural gas for distribution to the three states namely Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the project is practically not in operation at present, as pipeline project for evacuation of natural gas to various destinations in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have not been completed. The Kochi LNG terminal is presently incurring annual loss of around Rs.400 crores.

All the three concerned southern states are now suffering due to want of natural gas.  The availability of natural gas would pave way for setting up power and petrochemical projects, with the investment exceeding  Rs. 20,000 crore in the three states. However, the state governments do not appear to be impressed with such investment opportunities!.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu appear to have virtually given up  the gas pipeline project that would run through the states due to land acquisition issues  and  the agitation by local farmers against land acquisition.

Government of India owned GAIL which is responsible for laying the gas pipelines has simply gone to the court to resolve the issue and appear to have forgotten this pipeline project now!

Ground reality is that the Tamil Nadu and  Kerala government and Government of India have made no worthwhile attempts to convince the farmers to give up the land for laying LNG pipeline and by paying them appropriate compensation. Farmers are really not objecting to the installation of pipelines but are only asking for reasonable compensation.

Kochi LNG  project is typical case of worthy project being killed by three governments, who appear to give greater priority for political. consideration as against the needs of industrial growth and economic development.

PETRONET’S PLANS FOR KOCHI LNG

Petronet LNG has said that it has no immediate plans of abandoning the project.

After leasing out storages at its under utilized Kochi terminal, Petronet LNG has started offering services to LNG ships in a bid to generate revenue from different streams.Prior to a ship being filled with LNG, which is natural gas cooled to minus 160 degrees celcius to turn it into liquid, the tanker needs to be gassed up and cooled down.Cargo can not be loaded directly into the tank, as the presence of oxygen would create an explosive atmospheric condition. First inert gas in the storage tank is repressed with methane vapours and then the tank is cooled to minus  130 degree celcius to receive LNG. These services are generally provided at LNG loading terminals and may take tpo four days. Many  times these terminals are busy and Petronet have started offering these services at it’s Kochi terminal.

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACID FROM SEWAGE WATER INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY FOR INDIA

Swaminathan Venkatarman, Director, Nandini Consultancy (S) Pte Ltd., Singapore
swaminathan.v@nandinichemical.com

It is now well recognised all over the world that Chinese chemical industries have emerged as front runner.  Whether it is petrochemicals, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals or biotech products, chemicals made in China are now sold around the world at competitive quality and price levels.  While it is a fact that chemical industries in China have gained enormously by way of capacity creation and engineering/technology optimisation due to massive investments made by several multinational companies in China, the Chinese based chemical companies should be complemented for using such opportunities in appropriate manner and broadening it’s base in all aspects in quick time.

 While such massive capacity creations have happened due to the proactive policies of government of China and initiatives shown by the Chinese entrepreneurs, it has resulted in a situation where many chemicals and allied products, now produced in China are much more than what China needs.  In the case of some products like citric acid, the production capacity in China is even more than what the world needs.

However, Chinese companies have converted this piquant situation to it’s advantage by closing down several units whose environmental standards or efficiency and quality parameters might not be of global standards.  This could have been a painful exercise for some Chinese companies but have resulted in significant improvement in overall health of the Chinese chemical industries and enabling them to become robust.

Challenges ahead

The large capacity creation in China have increased the export dependence.

Obviously, the Chinese chemical industries now have the challenging task of penetrating into the global market particularly in Asia and Africa, which is necessary to sustain it’s growth and future prospects.  Such penetration in the overseas market has to be necessarily done by a multi pronged approach backed by strong supportive policies of the government and based on good understanding of the ground realities.

Just like the fact that many multi national companies  have sought to expand their marketing base by entering into China and investing in a massive way and introducing new technologies, Chinese companies too should adopt similar strategies for expanding it’s market base in Asia and Africa.  In seeking market opportunities in Asia and Africa, where the consumption level are still low but the aspirations of the people are high and the governments are keen to promote economic and industrial growth by seeing technologies and collaborations from abroad, it is likely that Chinese companies may have to compete with multi national companies that presently operate in China

Visit of Indian Prime Minister to China

The recent visit of the Indian Prime Minister Mr.NarendraModi to China has sent many positive signals about the collaboration and joint venture opportunities between chemical industries in India and China.
During the interaction with the Chinese entrepreneurs, the Indian Prime Minister went to the extent of assuring the Chinese investors that he would personally look into any issues in promoting collaboration between India and China.  Opportunities for technological and investment collaboration between Chinese and Indian chemical companies are manifold, which remain to the utilised.

Opportunities in India for Chinese companies

In the past it, has been seen that Chinese companies have not shown much interest in promoting projects in India but often have viewed Indian market as a dumping ground for Chinese products.  Such approach of Chinese companies obviously reflect a limited vision and lack of appreciation of the opportunities in India.  It is high time that chemical companies in China should pay special attention to identify the project investment opportunities in India, particularly in areas, where China commands  significant advantages over other countries.

While the opportunities are many and it would not be possible to discuss all of them in a brief article,  a few opportunities can be highlighted as illustrative examples.

Solar power sector

Government of India has now set target of building 100 GW of solar power by the year 2022.  However, only around 4000 MW of solar power capacity has been built so far. 

As several new solar projects have been announced, the Indian demand for solar cells are likely to increase multifold, which are now being largely imported. While high production targets have been fixed for solar power, there is no production of polycrystalline silicon in India at present.

China, being a large player in the global solar power industry with large production capacity for polycrystalline silicon and solar cells, China should actively look for investment opportunities in India in polycrystalline silicon and related solar projects. China has to compete with some companies in western countries in Indian market and it can well do so by setting up joint venture projects in India.

Coal based methanol

India is now one of the large importers of methanol in the world with the present import level being around 1.3 million metric tonne per annum. Import is steadily increasing at 7% to 8% every year.  In view of the huge shortage of natural gas and crude oil, there is no way that India can set up large methanol projects based on petroleum feedstock, that can be competitive vis a vis imported methanol.

At the same time, India has large coal resources though not as high as China. India presently produces around 500 million metric tonne of coal per annum and imports around 120 million metric tonne every year.  Government of India has fixed the target of increasing the coal production to 800 million metric tonne per annum in the next few years.

It is now increasingly being realised in India that coal resource should be utilised to set up several coal based chemical projects to reduce India’s dependence on petrochemical feed stock. Further, some of the coal deposits are in difficult terrain and underground coal gasification projects can be an ideal way of tapping the coal resource.

Since China is pioneer in the production of coal to chemical (CTC) and methanol to olefin (MTO) projects, here is a great opportunity for Chinese chemical companies to participate in joint ventures in India to set up coal based chemical projects, particularly for production of methanol and methanol to olefin products.

Dimethyl ether (DME) is a product uniquely developed and used in China as fuel for transportation and as substitute for LPG.  As India faces huge energy shortage now, use of  dimethyl ether as fuel and setting up of di methyl ether project from methanol in India would be of great significance to the country’s need.  Obviously, China can provide technology support for such DME project in India and even promote joint venture projects.

What advantage for China in collaboration ventures in India?

It is now internationally recognised that India is an emerging economy with large potential market base.  Many developed countries are keen to acquire a foothold in India to get share in the Indian market.  Obviously, getting share in Indian market requires strong presence in the country by  overseas organisations.

At present, Chinese companies are largely remaining as traders in India, constantly threatened by competition from other countries as well as imposition of anti dumping duties. 

Many multi national companies adopt the strategy of setting up projects for end products in India and with arrangements for marketing the intermediate chemicals or basic raw materials required for the project from it’s principal production centres abroad.  China too could use such strategies with distinct advantages, for penetrating the Indian market.

The profit potential in such joint venture projects could be attractive.

Technical know, how design & detailed engineering services

Technical know how, design & detailed engineering services for chemical projects in India are now largely provided by American and Europe based engineering organisations.  Indian design and detailed engineering organisations are yet to gain international attention in the competitive global arena.

In recent times, a number of engineering companies abroad have forged alliance with Indian companies to provide design and detailed engineering services in India. 

In this area too, China is lagging behind other countries.  There are several engineering organisations in China such as Wison Engineering Ltd. and many research organisations in China which have gained worldwide recognition.  These organisations have the opportunities now to get into Indian market in big way by adopting appropriate action plan.

Need for strategies

It is important that chemical companies in China  should evolve integrated action plans and strategies to penetrate the Indian market.

There is no indication so far that this task has been undertaken in detailed manner.

GLOBAL OVERSUPPLY SCENARIO OF LIGHT NAPHTHA - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Global production of light naphtha, an essential steam cracker feedstock for the production of gasoline and numerous chemicals, is increasing and may create a global surplus that exceeds market demand by as much as 14 million metric  tonne  (MMT) by 2020. 

This capacity expansion and surplus of light naphtha is occurring in large part due to the rapid expansion of tight oil and shale gas production in North America, and in particular, the U.S.A, which will surpass the Middle East to become the world's largest exporter of light naphtha by 2020, according to a new international market review from IHS.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Oversupply
  • Production
  • Consumption
  • Growth rate
  • Production centers
  • Demand drivers
  • Trade
NEEM COATED UREA GOVT’S PRAGMATIC POLICY APPROACH

Government of India has made it mandatory for domestic urea fertiliser companies to neem coat at least 75 per cent of their urea production.

The move is aimed at checking the excessive use of urea, which is deteriorating the soil health and adversely impacting overall crop yield. Shifting from usage of normal urea to neem coated urea is likely to reduce the demand for urea by 10%.  This would help save another  Rs.3,000 crore annually.

The move will also help in reducing the subsidy outgo.

Neem coated urea can not be put to use for industrial applications.

Rough estimates suggest that at least one million metric tonne of urea is illegally diverted for industrial use every year and hence stopping this illegal act by promoting neem coated urea production would mean saving of about Rs.1,500 crore per annum .

India annually uses about 30 million metric tonne of urea and about 8 million metric tonne is imported.  On an average, the subsidy for each metric tonne of urea is around Rs.15,000.

The growth in urea fertiliser production in India remains stunted in comparison with other countries like China.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Indian production / imports of urea
  • General details
  • Application
  • Specifications
  • Process
  • Global Scenario For Coated Urea
  • Revival Proposal For Closed Urea Projects In India
  • Proposed Ammonia Urea Complex Venture In Assam
  • Urea Plants To Get Pooled Gas
CALCIUM CARBIDE – SCENARIO IN CHINA

During the 2011-2015 five year plan period, output and consumption of calcium carbide in China rose continually, both growing more than 13% annually from 2011 to 2014.

Propelled by downstream sectors like polyvinyl chloride and 1.4-butanediol, a number of calcium carbide projects were kicked off increasing the domestic capacity to 41.83 million tonne per annum (nearly doubling 2010s level) at the end of 2014.  Of that, 31.06 million metric tonne of 74.2% of production were contributed by closed calcium carbide furnaces, while the proportion of internal combustion calcium carbide furnace capacity fell 7% from a year earlier.

The domestic capacity to make vinyl acetate by the calcium carbide process was 1.79 million metric tonne in 2014, accounting for 62% of the nations total. 

In 2014, China's BDO capacity reached 2.19 million tonne, and around 42% was contributed by calcium carbide acetylene-formaldehyde process, which accounts for 78% of the new capacity (1.4 million metric tonne) of ongoing projects.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Exports
  • Top ten calcium carbide companies in China, 2014
  • Indian import / export  of calcium carbide – April 2014 to March 2015
    • Pattern of Indian Import of calcium carbide
    • Pattern of Indian export of calcium carbide
    • Global import / export of calcium carbide
PROUCT PROFILE - TERTIARY BUTYLAMINE

tert-Butylamine is one of the four isomeric amines of butane, the others being n-butylamine,sec-butylamine and isobutylamine.

Appearance                                                     Colourless liquid
Odour                                                                Ammonia odour
CAS.No                                                             75-64-9
Molecular formula                                         (CH3)3CNH2

Alternate name                                     2-methyl-2-propanamine
2-amino-isobutane.
2-amino-2-methylpropane.
Solubility                                               
The product is miscible in water

Stability
The product is stable and incompatible with strong acids, strong oxidizing agents. 

Reactivity profile

tert-Butylamine neutralizes acids in exothermic reactions to form salts plus water.

Flammable gaseous hydrogen is generated in combination with strong reducing agents, such as hydrides. 

Safety and handling
The product is toxic if ingested or inhaled. 
Skin and eye        Causes severe burns and loss of vision
Inhalation             Prolonged contact will cause irritation to mucous membrane 
Storage
Tertiary butylamine has a shelf life of 24 months and should be kept at  temperature below 35 deg C. 
It must be protected from fire, explosions,sources of ignition and electrostatic charges

Product  specification

Parameter

Value

Assay

99.5% min

Colour

25 APHA max

Water

0.1% max

Suspended matter

None

Following details are given in this article.

  • Product application
  • Indian production
  • Annual import in India
  • Country wise import
  • Indian demand  
  • Growth rate in demand in India
  • Process outline
  • Global scenario
  • Major tertiary butylamine producers in China
  • Global demand
  • Prognosis
  • Sample of individual Import of tertiary butylamine in India
CELLULOSE ACETATE – INCREASING DEMAND IN ASIA

Cellulose acetate is used in applications ranging from textiles to spectacle frames, but the largest application by far is in cigarette filters.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Process
  • Producers
  • Global cellulose acetate capacity
  • Global producers and capacity share
  • Global demand trend
  • Demand trend in Europe / America
  • Demand trend in developing countries
  • Technology development
  • Indian scenario
SYNTHETIC ZEOLITE - PRODUCT PROFILE

Synthetic zeolites are a group of hydrated aluminosilicates of the alkali or alkaline earth metals. Pore sizes range from about 2 to 12 angstroms.

The basic and simplest synthetic zeolite is zeolite A (Na12 (AlO2)12(SiO2)12.27 H2O) with molecular ratio of one silica to one alumina to one sodium cation.

Synthetic zeolite  are prepared from aluminosilicate gel .There are many proprietary processes to modify zeolites that impart unique characteristics to them.

As part of product development, various new types of zeolite builders are being developed, which have similar chemical formula of Na, Al and Si, but they differ in crystalline structure.

Detergents constitute 77% of usage of zeolites, followed by catalysts at 13% and molecular sieves  at 10%.

Synthetic zeolites are used in the following applications

  • Detergents
  • Catalysts
  • Molecular sieves/adsorbants - Synthetics zeolites possess the unique ability  to selectively adsorb  molecule by size and polarity

The following topics are discussed

  • Detergent zeolite 4A
  • Zeolite P
  • Comparison of calcium binding capacity
  • Detergent zeolite X
  • Detergent zeolite AX
  • Process brief
  • Raw material requirements
  • Global market size
  • Market size of consuming sectors
  • Growth in demand
  • Important producers
  • Major producers of zeolite A  and capacity in China
  • Indian scenario
  • Selected technology development efforts
KG-D6 OUTPUT TREND - CAUSE FOR CONCERN

KG-D6 fields began production in April 2009 and touched a peak of 69.43 mmscmd in  March 2010.

The KG-D6 gross production averaged 11.5 mmscmd during January-March 2015 against 11.8 mmscmd during October-December 2014. Post the commissioning of two booster compressor pumps, Reliance Industries Ltd. is trying to revive some wells so as to maintain the production. In addition, after completion of appraisal wells in MJ-1, reservoir modelling and engineering is under progress.

The production of gas at the once-prolific Krishna-Godavari (KG) D6 block, held by Reliance Industries (RIL) along with partners BP and Niko Resources, is unlikely to pick up for the next four years at least. Rather, there is a fear that block’s output may fall 3% every month, a scenario the explorers are believed to be trying to salvage.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

PROJECTED GAS AVAILABILITY IN INDIA - GOVERNMENT’S CLAIM

The availability of  natural gas from domestic sources would rise by about 59% to about  146 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) in FY19 from 92 mmscmd in the current year, according to an assessment by the petroleum ministry.

A large chunk of the envisaged incremental production would come from fields of state run explorer ONGC, while the balance would be from assets held by Cairn India, GSPC and RIL,  the petroleum ministry said.

Petroleum Ministry said that during FY12 and FY15, nearly 40  oil and gas discoveries have been made in onshore and offshore areas by both PSU and private explorers. Of this, declaration of commerciality proposals for four discoveries have so far been reviewed by the management committee, resulting in accretion of 211 million barrels of oil and 3.54 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in pace volumes. The corresponding recoverable reserves are to the tune of 27.8 million barrels of oil and 1.39 bcm of gas.

The petroleum ministry said that the estimate of 146 mmscmd is based on the field development plans (FDPs) already approved and the projects are under production or to commence shortly.“On an optimistic note, the gas output could further increase to 170 mmscmd (additional 24 mmscmd) if the KG Basin block of ONGC starts production and Oil India too drills gas in Andhra Pradesh,” a government official said .

Following details are discussed in this article

  • ONGC’s efforts
  • Efforts of Reliance Industries
  • Other prospective gas fields
NATURAL GAS AS FUEL OF THE FUTURE WILL IT REPLACE COAL?

Coal from producers led by Glencore Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd., is the fuel for about 40 percent of the world’s electricity production.

With almost 200 nations set to discuss a binding pact on carbon emissions in December,2015, fossil fuel companies led by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA say that they are refocusing on natural gas as cleaner alternative to the cheap coal, followed similar pattern that now dominates electricity generation worldwide.

Shell, Total, BP Plc and other oil companies said in a joint statement that they’re banding together to promote gas as more climate friendly than coal.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

OTHER FEATURES

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Polyethylene terephthalate
  • Nylon 6 Chips
  • Radial tyres

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Triethylene glycol
  • PTA
  • Methane to ethylene demonstration plant
  • Oxo plant
  • Cellulose ethers project in USA
  • Propane dehydro project  in Poland
  • PVC project in Vietnam
  • Hydrogen peroxide project in USA
  • Potassium nitrate
  • Effect pigments project in Germany
  • VAE Emulsions project in Singapore
  • PEEK project in USA
  • Specialty amines project in Hungary
  • PVC project in Egypt
  • 1,4 butanediol / tetrahydrofuran project in USA
  • New PP grades
  • Vitamin B2 project in Germany
  • Biobased barrier films project in Australia
  • Grupa Azoty non phthalate plasticizer in Poland
  • Pectin project in Latin America
  • Ammonium thiosulfate plant in France
  • Titanium sponge plant  in Saudi Arabia
  • Fire in Beaumont petchem complex  belonging  to ExxonMobil
  • ICL to close flame retardant plant
  • Lithium ion battery controversies

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

Recent technology developments are discussed in the following articles

  • Fuel cell research
  • L-methionine
  • Self destructing devices to help reduce e-waste

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments  in China is discussed  in the following articles

  •  Desiccant products
  • Mononitrobenzene
  • Polyamide 6,6.6 plant

NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA

Recent development in India are discussed in the following articles

  • Hydroquinon / Vanillin
  • Strategic crude storage facility at Vizag
  • Clariant buys Lanxess pigment plant in India
  • Melamine
  • PET, PTA plants
  • Mineral Rules: Govt comes out with two types of licences

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

Recent developments in agro fields are discussed in the following articles

  • Supply of phosphate fertilizer
  • European Commission’s GMO approvals

PHARMA PAGE

APPROVAL FOR RAPAMUNE DRUG FOR LUNG DISEASE

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Rapamune (sirolimus), to treat lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare, progressive lung disease, that primarily affects women of childbearing age. This is the first drug approved to treat the disease.

Rapamune is made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,USA.

LAM is characterized by an abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells that invade lung tissues, including the airways and blood/lymph vessels that cause destruction of the lung, resulting in airflow obstruction and limiting the delivery of oxygen to the body. LAM is a rare disease. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, between two and five women per million women worldwide are known to have the disease.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

Recent developments  in the pharma  fields are  discussed in the following  articles

  • SGL T2 inhibitor - Risk alert on  diabetes drugs
  • Anti aging drug
  • Artificial molecular pump

ENERGY PAGE

Recent developments in the energy fields are discussed in the following articles

  • Oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean
  • Ethanol fuel in USA
  • ONGC’s proposed  LNG terminal in Mozambique
  • Gas hydrates potential in India
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Price details
    • Unsaturated polyester resins
    • Crude oil price trend
    • Natural Gas
  • Spot price of polymers in China - Period May 2015
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during the month of March 2015
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