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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, February 2016

STARTUP INDIA|MELAMINE|SUPER ABSORBENT FIBRES
Highlights of Some of the Articles

PRIME MINISTER’s STARTUP INDIA – AN ACT OF FAITH
SUSTAINED GROWTH OF CHINESE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY IS IN THE WORLD’S INTEREST
COMMENTARY ON PARIS CLIMATE CONFERENCE
METHYL METHACRYLATE – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
MELAMINE – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL - NEOPENTYL GLYCOL
SUPER ABSORBENT FIBRES – PRODUCT PROFILE
WAY TO SOLVE NATURAL GAS PIPELINE ISSUE IN TAMIL NADU
FLEX FUEL POLICY OF GOVERNMENT OF INDIA UNCERTAINTIES AND DOUBTS
GAS HYDRATE - PROSPECTS IN INDIA
NATURAL GAS / OIL RESERVES AND PRODUCTION ACROSS THE WORLD
WORLD GEOSYNTHETICS DEMAND TREND FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
USE OF ARTIFICIAL SAND FOR CONSTRUCTION RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

PRIME MINISTER’s STARTUP INDIA – AN ACT OF FAITH

Certainly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has caught the imagination of the youth of India by launching the Startup India movement with impressive oratory.

A number of imaginative steps and meaningful concessions have been announced, which obviously indicate the good understanding of ground realities.

However, given the complexities of the Indian scenario and several constraints faced by investors, one can only conclude that Mr. Narendra Modi has moved with an element of faith that youth would rise up to the occasion and accept the challenges with enthusiasm and determination.

It would be appropriate to highlight that one has to keep the fingers crossed about the feasibility of adequate success of startup India campaign, particularly considering the fact that several of other pet themes of  Mr. Narendra Modi such as Clean India campaign, Make in India announced with similar fanfare and hope, have not yet achieved the big breakthrough expected of them, for whatever reasons.

Need for innovation 

Prime Minister has well emphasised the need for innovation, showing his clear understanding that India today is almost entirely dependent on import of technologies in various fields to sustain its industrial growth.

The truth is that there is nothing big to write about achievements in the Indian R&D front, inspite of several thousand crores of rupees spent by Govt of India in operating the government owned CSIR labs. The contribution of private sector to Indian R&D efforts is even more dismal than the  CSIR labs. The much hope that industry academic interaction will make innovative research take off has also not been realised, as most of the universities and educational institutions in India largely operate as degree/diploma conferring centers, after imparting ready made lessons to the students.

In the educational institutions in India, there is little place for knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but knowledge acquisition is centered over getting success in the examination.

To improve the research climate in India, the fundamental transformation in the mindset towards research have to be achieved, which appears to be still a far cry. The startup India campaign in the absence of basic research strength may end up as more service oriented entrepreneurial schemes rather than manufacturing setups.

Role of financing l institutions

It is yet to be seen how Prime Minister would be able to motivate the financing institutions to help the startup entrepreneurs, with complete understanding.

Need for mentor support

There is also need to provide mentor support to startup entrepreneurs and emphasis could have been laid on larger industries and organisations providing support to startup entrepreneurs by adopting their units as ancillary setups or custom manufacturers or contract suppliers to the extent possible.

Need for clear cut direction 

Overall, one cannot but miss the fact that there is lack of clear cut direction on the part of government of India to the industries and entrepreneurs about the appropriate areas into which the Indian investors should remain focussed.

Government is yet to clarify that its policies and programmes would be in tune with encouraging specific  industrial sector that are appropriate to national need, instead of leaving it entirely to startup entrepreneur to choose the area of operation which may prove to be inappropriate later on. It is necessary that the areas of investment should be supported by the pro active policies of the government.

Two nearly similar compaigns 

It is slightly disappointing that while talking of his startup India campaign, Prime Minister has not adequately linked startup India campaign with make in India campaign. It would have been  more appropriate, if both the programmes  have been clubbed and launched  together.

It is necessary to be cautious that make in India programme and startup India scheme should not be operated in isolation. There have to be an elegant situation where one complements the other and the governments lead in the choice of direction should be deemed very important.

Need for holistic approach

The government’s task does not end merely by announcing concessional schemes and it has to go much beyond. While Mr. Narendra Modi should be congratulated for his approach and understanding of the need, the importance of holistic approach should also need to be kept in mind.

SUSTAINED GROWTH OF CHINESE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY IS IN THE WORLD’S INTEREST

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

In recent times, there have been much speculation and media discussions about the slow down of Chinese industry and particularly Chinese chemical industry. 

Careful analysis of the facts and figures would readily indicate the fact that the growth trends of Chinese chemical industry are still maintained at an impressive level relative to rest of the world, though the rate of growth in comparison to the growth profile in recent years has slowed down.

Chinese economy is now the world’s second largest and is growing at nearly 7 percent a year — down from 10.6 percent in 2010 and it is still growing at healthy pace. 

Slower growth not a matter of concern

The present slower growth of Chinese chemical industry in comparison to the past trend is not really alarming, since the Chinese industry and economy have grown at very feverish pitch in the last few decades and it is unreasonable to expect that such growth pitch can be maintained for all time to come.  No economy can go on growing at around 10%-odd rates for decades; China managed to do so for  nearly 30 years.

China is now rebalancing its economy, shifting to more sustainable growth. China’s transition to a ‘new normal’ rate of growth may be bumpy as it takes corrective action. However, the rest of the world, especially people who play the market for a living, seem to look shell shocked.

World chemical industry appears to think that everything ultimately has to do with China.

Improved global ranking

The ground reality is that a few decades back, the status and position of Chinese chemical industry in the world was not ranked high. Therefore, great efforts and initiatives were taken by Government of China and chemical industries in China to reach high levels of growth, so as to improve the ranking of the Chinese chemical industry in the global context. This objective has now been convincingly and largely met by the chemical industry in China.

Today, China is not only a producer of large number of chemical and allied products in different sectors (based on conventional and recently developed technologies, producing eco friendly products, bio tech products etc. at globally competitive scale and specifications) but also a large consumer of various chemicals and allied products.

Rapidly increasing consumption of chemicals and allied products in China is only due to the rapid buildup of production capacity of chemicals and other industry in China in diversified sector including petro chemicals, agro chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy, textiles and dyes etc.

Gainful entry of multinational companies

Impressed by the growth in demand and consumption of chemical products in China and given the fact that the market in the developed region in Western Europe, Japan and Northern America have virtually become matured and stagnant, multinational companies utilized the opportunity and entered China in a big way to build large capacity in the country. 

Multinational companies readily entered into China with massive investment and introduced updated technologies in China, as they really have no other alternative way to sustain their growth.

Certainly, Government of China and chemical industry in China have adopted proactive policies and approach to facilitate the successful and mutually advantageous entry of multinational companies and chemical industry from other regions into China.

In the process, the Chinese economy, Chinese chemical industry and the overseas organizations have gained and it is now seen as an elegant exercise of  technical, financial and management cooperation on global scale. It is a win win situation for everyone involved.

Impact on other economies

The scale and span of China’s trade gives it huge influence over the global economy. How China deals with its problems have far reaching implications because the country has become such a big part of the world economy. Slow down in China inevitably impacts commodity prices all over the world, as China has emerged as the biggest consumer of many commodities including basic metals.

China is one of the biggest consumers of commodities like oil, soybeans and iron ore and when demand in China slows, economies in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa suffer. Even industrialized countries like Germany, Japan and the United States are vulnerable, though less so than commodity exporters, because they sell manufactured goods to China.

World has to reposition itself

Now, as the growth rate of Chinese chemical industry inevitably is slowing down, and the Chinese economy and the Chinese chemical industry are moving ahead at a more stable growth path, the world economy and the world chemical industry have to necessarily re position themselves and this is precisely what is happening now.

Dispassionate analysis of the recent performance Chinese chemical industry would highlight the fact that the basics and fundamentals remain strong and there is no need for panic reaction.

Of course, China has been accounting for around one third of global growth in the last year or two and it will be the same this year.

While the slowdown in China continue to be a subject of debate around the world,  stabilized growth will  provide greater strength and stronger fundamentals to China sooner than later.

COMMENTARY ON PARIS CLIMATE CONFERENCE

Nandini Consultancy Centre has just released a commentary on Paris Climate Conference under the title

Tall targets and uncertain strategies of the Paris climate conference and India’s ambitious targets

The commentary, that consist of 214 slides with figures, tables and analysis, discusses about the complex issues involved in global climate management and critically reviews the targets and strategies arrived at Paris climate conference (COP21).

The promises made by India with regard to climate management has been discussed in detail, particularly with regard to impediments on the way and the feasibility of attaining the target.

Various aspects discussed in the study include the following.

  • Past and present climate scenario and its impact
  • Grave future scenario, if climate change remains unmanaged
  • Various challenges in tackling climate change issues
  • Details on past climate agreements in the world forums
  • Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) of several countries for climate management
  • Key positives and shortfalls of targets and strategies proposed in the COP21 conference
  • Critical examination of India’s ambitious promises and the feasibility of fulfilling them
  • Need for appropriate strategies by India to meet the twin objectives of meeting the emission mitigation target  and tackling impending energy crisis
  • Where would the world go from here?
METHYL METHACRYLATE – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
Name Methyl methacrylate (MMA)
CAS number    80-62-6
Physical state Liquid
Density     0.94 g per cm3 (20 deg. C)
Flammability    Highly flammable
Boiling point     100 to 101 deg.C
Explosive properties Not explosive

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Applications
  • Process
  • Indian scenario
  • Indian import of methyl methacrylate
  • Indian import of poly methyl methacrylate
  • Use pattern in India
  • Global scenario
  • Global import / export of polymethyl methacrylate
  • Global top  importing countries of polymethyl methacrylate
  • Global top exporting countries of polymethyl methacrylate
  • Global producers
  • Major MMA producers in China
  • Anti dumping duty in China
MELAMINE – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
Appearance   Fine white, crystalline powder
CAS No.  108-78-1
Molecular formula  C3H6N6
Odour       Mild odour

Stability 
Melamine is stable, when stored under normal warehouse conditions.  
Although not particularly hygroscopic, powdered melamine must still be protected from wetting because, like most powders, it will form lump over extended storage period.
Safety and toxicity 
Melamine crystals sublimate rather than ignite and burn, but thermal decomposition or combustion can produce carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, oxides of nitrogen and/or hydrogen cyanide.
From the standpoint of acute toxicity, melamine is not classified as a health risk.
Following details are discussed in this article

  • Producer’s specification
  • Applications
  • Indian manufacturer
  • Indian installed capacity and production
  • Indian import / export
    • Pattern of country wise import
  • Indian demand
    • Pattern of Indian demand
  • Anti dumping  duty on melamine
  • Process
    • High pressure non catalytic melamine technology developed by Eurotechnica (ETCE)
  • Regulation in China on use of melamine in food products
  • Analysis of melamine in food products
  • Global scenario
  • Global production / demand
  • Melamine capacity in China
  • Global import
  • Global top importing countries  
  • Global top exporting countries
  • Major producers of melamine include the following
    • Selected producers in China and capacity
    • Global growth in demand
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL NEOPENTYL GLYCOL

Neopentyl Glycol (NPG) is a clear colourless organic compound with a mild minty odour.

Chemical Name 1,3-Propanediol, 2,2-dimethyl
Synonyms 2,2-Dimethyl-1,3-propanediol, Dimethyltrimethylene glycol,
Neopentyl glycol
Common Name Neopentyl glycol
Melting Point 127 deg.C
Water Solubility 190g/100 ml at 20 deg.C (65%)
CAS Number 126-30-7

Stability
Neopentyl glycol is stable when stored under normal warehouse conditions


Miscibility
It is miscible with organic solvents and insoluble in water


Flammability
Neopentyl glycol may be combustible at high temperature


Toxicity
Low toxicity to aquatic organisms


Forms

Neopentyl glycol is available in the following forms

  • Solid – As flakes or platelets
  • Liquid – Pure liquid - In molten form
  • Liquid – As a liquid containing 90 parts NPG and 10 parts water and can be stored at a lower temperature than molten NPG

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Producer’s specification
  • Applications
  • Demand driver
  • Production process
  • Production status in India
  • Indian Annual Import
  • Country wise import
  • Selected manufacturing companies
SUPER ABSORBENT FIBRES – PRODUCT PROFILE

Super absorbent  material is used in diapers or nappies  and is manufactured in high volumes around the world.

Most super absorbent material on the market is in the form of crystals.Fibre form of super absorbent material have now been developed and it is a much more versatile material.  Fibre form of super absorbent material can be used in a range of material fabrics or made into yarns. These can then be employed in more specialist types of super absorbent markets.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

WAY TO SOLVE NATURAL GAS PIPELINE ISSUE IN TAMIL NADU

The verdict of Supreme Court providing green signal to Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) to lay down natural gas pipeline from Kochi to Tamil Nadu, cutting across 7 districts in Tamil Nadu, will go a long way in boosting industrial and economic growth in Tamil Nadu.

Kochi LNG project on the verge of becoming sick

Kochi LNG project in Kerala has been completed with the capacity of 5 million tonne at the cost of over Rs.4000 crore after protracted delay. Unfortunately, the facilities are now used at less than 10% capacity utilization level due to lack of pipeline for evacuation of the imported gas to the consuming centres. As a result , this massive project is now becoming sick .

Any closure of this facility for LNG would be a costly loss for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which are beneficiary states. Such grim scenario should be avoided

Following details are discussed in this article

  • GAIL’s efforts so far   
  • What benefits for Tamil Nadu ?
  • Concern of the farmers
  • Mistakes made by GAIL
  • Stand of Tamil Nadu Government
  • How to solve the issue now?
  • More problems remain
FLEX FUEL POLICY OF GOVERNMENT OF INDIA - UNCERTAINTIES AND DOUBTS

Flexible fuel cars  are cars that can run on bio-ethanol and petrol or a blend of both.

Government of India’s  move to encourage use of flex fuels will decrease pollution and encourage  diversion in the sugar industry’s output away from sugar and towards ethanol.

However, a policy on flex-fuel vehicles is likely to affect the automotive industry in several ways.

The policy ought to be carefully aligned with the country’s overall objectives in the sector.

Flex fuels are widely used in several countries, famously Brazil and the United States, where they are available at the pump; examples include E10, E15, E85, the number reflecting the proportion of ethanol.

The technology for the engines that can take these fuels is certainly not new but  suitably designed  engines are not yet available in India .Government of India is reported to have asked Volkswagen to come up with a flex fuel engine. It requires modifications along the supply chain and calibrating the engine for Indian conditions.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Unanswered questions
  • Ethanol blending policy
  • Alternate feed stock for ethanol
GAS HYDRATE - PROSPECTS IN INDIA

Broadly, commercially useful gas hydrates are formed when methane or natural gas get trapped in icicles.  
These are found at places with extreme cold temperatures such as the Arctic region, Alaska and Siberia; or below seabed under high pressure of water depth.

Technology for producing gas from hydrates is still in pilot stage - though considerable success in Japan, US and Canada gives hope.

Indeed, Japan has declared that it would start commercial gas production from its offshore hydrates from 2020 after proving commerciality of the technology by 2018.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

NATURAL GAS / OIL RESERVES AND PRODUCTION ACROSS THE WORLD

Global and Regional oil reserves

Region

Africa

North America

Europe

Middle East

Asia & Oceania

Central & South America

Eurasia

Total

 

In billion barrels

2013

127.74

216.77

12.02

802.16

45.36

325.93

118.89

1648.87

2014

126.73

219.79

12.28

803.60

46.01

328.26

118.89

1655.56

2015

126.50

220.12

11.72

808.13

46.05

329.43

118.89

1660.84

Global and regional proven natural gas resources

Region

Africa

North America

Europe

Middle East

Asia & Oceania

Central & South America

Eurasia

Total

 

Trillion cubic feet

2013

514.81

393.43

145.52

2823.23

521.46

268.92

2177.80

6845.17

2014

605.96

422.06

135.87

2812.83

540.38

277.62

2177.80

6972.52

2015

604.14

N/A

130.94

2818.20

534.49

274.26

2178.03

6540.06

India’s crude oil reserves and production

Year

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

 

in million metric tonne

Reserves

774.66

757.4

759.59

758.74

762.73

763.48

Production

33.69

37.68

38.09

37.86

37.78

37.46

India’s natural gas reserves and production

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

 

In billion cubic metre

Reserves

1,148.54

1,278.06

1,330.24

1,354.76

1,427.15

1,488.47

Production

47.5

52.2

47.6

40.7

35.4

33.7

India’s oil import from Africa

Year 
(April to March)

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

 

In million metric tonne

Total Import

159.24

163.58

171.24

184.8

189.24

189.44

From Africa

28.28

36.5

32.01

29.57

30.39

33.05

% Share

17.8

22.3

18.7

16.0

16.1

17.4

India’s oil exploration projects in Africa

Country

Block

Indian stake (%)

Expected

Product

Reserves

Mozambique

Rovuma-1

30

2019

Gas

75 tcf

Sudan

1,2,4

25

Producing

Oil

50,000 bpd*

Gabon

Shakthi

100

2018

Oil

44 m barrels

Nigeria

OML 142

35

Siesmic data done

Oil/gas

 

Libya

Ghadames Basin

50

Survey on

Gas

 

Source: EIA, MoPNG.

WORLD GEOSYNTHETICS DEMAND TREND FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Global demand for geosynthetics is forecast to rise 6.1% per year through 2019 to 6.5 billion square meters.

Growth will be driven by China, which is expected to account for 60% of additional global demand generated between 2014 and 2019 primarily due to its ongoing development of large-scale infrastructure projects and need for erosion control.

Further bolstering world demand will be growing concerns regarding environmental protection and greater awareness of the performance advantages of geosynthetics in a variety of applications.

Geosynthetics will gain market share at the expense of other geotechnical solutions, including organic erosion control blankets, aggregates and compacted soil.

Additionally, the implementation of more stringent regulatory standards for environmental stewardship, waste management and construction codes will provide opportunities. These and other trends are presented in World Geosynthetics, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc.,  a Cleveland based industry research firm.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • World Geosynthetics Demand
  • Asia/Pacific region
  • US scenario
OTHER FEATURES

PLANT CLOSURES

The articles discusses about the closure of following plants

  • Celanese sells emulsions unit, closes others
  • Covestro to close MDI plant in Spain, turn site into chem park
  • Inovyn to close chloromethanes unit in UK
  • JB Chem told to shut Panoli drug plant

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Metallurgical coke
  • SBR latex
  • Sorbitol
  • Plastic processing machine
  •  Mulberry silk 

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Phillips 66 starts up new NGL fractionators in USA
  • LLDPE project in Saudi Arabia
  • Butadiene project in Hungary
  • Maleic anhydride venture
  • Chlorine, KOH projects in Germany

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

Recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Recovery of phosphorus from waste water
  • Geocement  - Technology development
  • Technology to maximise output of LPG
  • On site sodium hypochlorite generation system
  • Desert sand to store energy

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments  in China are discussed in the following articles

  • Poly carbonate
  • Propylene oxide
  • Lithium hexafluorophosphate project
  • Hydrogen peroxide project
  • Cellulose acetate based speciality products
  • Lithium iron phosphate

NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Green norms for sugar mills
  • Regulations on nutraceuticals

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

Recent development  in the agro  fields are  discussed in the following  article

  • Ban 13 pesticides, phase out 6 by 2020, suggests Verma panel
  • Urea coated with castor oil

PHARMA PAGE

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

  • New blood test to track skin cancer
  • Clinical trials for two new drugs developed by IICT,Hyderabad
  • Ashwagandha to treat Alzheimer disease

ENERGY PAGE

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

  • Underground coal mining – Prospects in India
  • KG-D6 wells may dry up by 2020
  • Coal bed methane output ‘on the decline’ in Bengal
  • Solar power tariff touches a new low of  Rs.4.34 per unit
  • On shore block project of Cairn India in Rajasthan
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Spot price of polymers in China – Period January 2016
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during November 2015
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