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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, January 2016

CRUDE PRICE|HERBAL SECTOR|FUEL FROM WASTE
Highlights of Some of the Articles

IS INDIA UTILISING THE BREATHING TIME PROVIDED BY CRUDE PRICE FALL ?
MONO SODIUM GLUTAMATE (MSG) – PRODUCT PROFILE
HFO-1336mzz – EMERGING ECO FRIENDLY REFRIGERANT
PETROLEUM JELLY – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
POLYETHER ETHER KETONE (PEEK) - PRODUCT PROFILE
PARIS CLIMATE PACT CLEAR ON TARGET BUT ON STRATEGY NOT YET
IS INDIAN HERBAL SECTOR FACING CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE ?
UPDATE ON INDIAN PETROLEUM SECTOR
UPDATE ON PROGRAMMES TO PRODUCE FUEL FROM WASTE
WHY FALL IN SOLAR POWER COST ?
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

IS INDIA UTILISING THE BREATHING TIME PROVIDED BY CRUDE PRICE FALL?

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

With the international crude oil price steadily falling during the last 18 months from as high as          140US$ per barrel to the present level of 36US$ per barrel, India, which has been very largely depending on import of crude oil to meet it’s requirement,  has benefitted significantly.

With Iranian oil getting back on track following the lifting of sanctions, Goldman Sachs and CLSA are predicting that crude oil price may just fall to the $20 level  per barrel.  The immediate impact on India will be positive, since the current account imbalance will further reduce.

How long will the price fall persist ? What would be India’s position when the crude price would increase ?

Crude price will climb back

It is necessary  not to ignore  the historical trend that long periods of low priced oil are followed by long periods of high priced oil. It is naïve to expect that crude price will remain low for all time to come and to relax  with feelings of comfort.

While present crude oil price is low compared to the past trend and it is expected that such low price trend would continue for some more months, there appear to be near unanimous view amongst various research and investigative agencies in the world that the crude price would climb back sooner or later. The consensus view  is  that oil price has to   be at the level of  not less than  70 US  dollar per barrel for new oil explorations  to be economically viable . New explorations are necessary ,  as the existing ageing oil wells may  inevitably decline in performance 
It is predicted that in all probability, the price of crude would touch around 70US$ per barrel before long and stay at that level for several years to come. There are many justifiable reasons that are attributed for expecting such climb back of global crude price.

India’s import dependence

 India presently import around 190 million metric tonne of crude oil  and around 19 billion cubic metre of natural gas per annum. The crude oil  and natural gas production in India has been nearly stagnant  for many years now and  the domestic production is unlikely to be increased in any substantial measure in the immediate future. As the demand  for crude oil and natural gas in India  would increase at 5 to 6 percent per annum in the coming years even by conservative estimate, Indian import of crude oil may touch  around 250 million metric tonne per annum by 2020 and the import of natural gas would also considerably  go up.

If and when global crude oil price would climb back to 70US$ per barrel, Indian economy and it’s fiscal deficit would be put under severe strain once again, due to such large import  dependence for crude oil and natural gas.

This certainly would lead to severe energy crisis in India by 2020,when the crude price may touch 70 USD per barrel,  if appropriate strategies would not be conceived and implemented immediately with great sense of urgency.

Government of India and stake holders in Indian industrial  and services sector are well aware of the impending energy crisis by 2020 and concerns have been expressed in various forums. However, the grim ground reality is that adequate strategies  and measures to meet the energy challenges ahead  are not being implemented with the speed that is required.

Are Indian strategies wishful ?

During the recent Paris climate conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India will have renewable energy capacity of 175 GW by 2022.

Obviously, this 175 GW consist of atleast 100 GW of solar power and large chunk of inland wind power. Government of India has also taken some steps  to implement off shore wind power project but they are at preliminary stage only at present.

 It is doubtful whether India can achieve the target for 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, as this target calls for renewable energy capacity build up of around 19 GW every year between 2016 and 2022. This appears to be an extremely optimistic target, particularly considering the past performance and track record.

There are other solution being thought about, by increasing the production of domestic coal,   so that India would become self sufficient in coal production,  India presently import more than  210 million metric  tonne per annum of coal and the demand is going up .One may not be sure as to whether domestic coal production can be stepped up to fill such supply gap in the next six to seven years.  Even if it were to happen, this may not be ecologically acceptable solution,  particularly in the context of the deliberations of the recent Paris climate conference, where it was stressed that the use of fossil resources like coal, natural gas, crude oil in the world should be drastically reduced.

Some steps are being initiated in India to increase the nuclear power plant capacities but here also are problems due to protest by the environmental lobbyists .

There are other option like coal bed methane gas. However, so far, the production in this front has been low and the proposal to set up coal bed methane  extraction facilities in Tamil Nadu have met with severe resistance from the local people and it appears that the proposal in Tamil Nadu has been given up. Some initiatives have been taken by ONGC to step up the production of  coal bed methane gas in other parts of the country.

Suggestions have been made that algae bio fuel production should be made in large quantity in India but the scheme almost remain a non starter yet.

Another option namely coal gasification projects are still in the preliminary evaluation stage and are unlikely to see the light of the day by the year 2020.

The other options like gas hydrate, geothermal energy, shale gas have really not moved beyond discussion stage, for all practical purposes.
Given such scenario, it appears that India would be ill prepared to meet the likely energy crisis by 2020,when the price of crude oil would be 70 US$ per barrel or more.

 What way out now ?

 It has become crystal clear that stepping of production of crude oil, natural gas and even that of coal can not be achieved to the extent needed by 2020 that can save India from energy crisis.

Let us wish that Prime Minister’s target of building up 175 GW of renewable energy power by 2022 will materialize, though given the present pace of progress, it appears to be tall order. But let us realize the fact that the target of achieving 175 GW by 2022 is technically feasible. Let the nation strive it’s best.

Obviously, when the production can not be stepped up, the demand for petro based  fuel should be reduced to the extent possible, without affecting the industrial and economic growth.

It is gratifying to note that Prime Minister inaugurated a battery driven bus(electric bus) for the use of parliamentarians   a few days back. This initiative should be viewed as desirable development. Government of India should make massive efforts to set up facilities for  battery driven automobiles in the country and also offer some incentive programme to the existing automobile companies to build facilities for production of battery driven  vehicles  in a big way. This would have the twin benefit of reducing the demand for fuel and also serve the ecological objective. Of course, this can be done only  to a limited extent.

However, it appears that the ultimate and immediate solution for India’s impending energy crisis is to acquire oil and gas assets abroad. With oil price at distressed levels, many oil and gas producers  abroad are struggling with the financial burden of servicing their investments and profitability of their oil and gas investments have come down drastically. The government  of India should be ready with a warchest of funds and target assets around the world that are available for sale or in distress with a view to acquiring such oil and gas fields, that would  satisfy  the Indian demand in coming years. India appears to have taken some half hearted measures in the recent past to acquire assets abroad. Some of  such acquisition are in politically unstable regions.

China has adopted this strategy of acquiring assets abroad to meet it's domestic oil and gas needs with efficiency and achieved considerable success. It may be seen that China has acquired oil and gas  assets abroad to the extent of around 3 million barrel per day of oil production. Why not India follow similar strategy in the same manner as China has achieved, with similar speed and efficiency that China could exhibit?

MONO SODIUM GLUTAMATE (MSG) – PRODUCT PROFILE

Mono sodium glutamate (MSG) is sodium salt of L-glutamic acid.

Appearance White free flowing crystalline powder
CAS No. 142-47-2 (anhydrous)
6106-04-3 (monohydrate)
Chemical family Amino acid
Molecular formula C5H8NO4Na.H2O
Odour Odourless

Solubility

MSG is soluble in water. When dissolved in water, MSG rapidly dissociates into free sodium and glutamate.

Stability:                                    Stable under recommended storage conditions

Taste and flavour

MSG is known to enhance flavour and are recognised as the umami taste in the oriental cuisine.

Many researchers believe that umami is a fifth taste, independent of the four basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty and bitter, because it can not be mimicked by any combination of the other four.

The taste of MSG is like that of salt and has  self limiting characteristic. 

Only a small amount of MSG is needed to achieve optimum flavour.

Further addition of MSG has little or no beneficial effect.

MSG contributes delicious umami taste to food, when used at level in excess of their independent detection threshold.

Following details are discussed in ths article

  • Specification
  • Product application
  • Process for MSG
  • Views on safety concerns
  • Global installed capacity
  • Global production / demand
  • Global and region wise capacity
  • Major global producers
  • Substitution product Indian import
  • Pattern of  region wise import
HFO-1336mzz – EMERGING ECO FRIENDLY REFRIGERANT

Regulatory pressure has been mounting globally to address the issue of climate change.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)with high global warming potentials (GWPs), used as working fluids across many applications, are coming under increasing scrutiny because they are forecast to become significant contributors to global warming in the future.Therefore, there is a need for low GWP working fluids for many applications for which HFCs have been historically preferred.

A new developmental refrigerant, Hydro-Fluoro-OlefinHFO-1336mzz-Z (cisCF3CH=CHCF3),  as a potential working fluid is being commercialised.

HFO-1336mzz has a favourable toxicity profile and it is non flammable at both   60  deg.C and 100  deg.C. It offers both non flammability and a very low one-hundred year GWP of 2.

HFO-1336mzz-Z remains chemically stable in the presence of carbon steel, copper, aluminum, air and moisture up to the maximum temperature tested of 250 deg.C, despite its unsaturated chemical nature.

Product characteristics

Chemical Name cis-1,1,1,4,4,4-hexafluoro-2-butene
Synonyms HFO-1336mzz-Z; HFO-1336mzz(Z)
Trade name FEA-1100
Formacel® 1100
CAS Number 692-49-9
Molecular formula C4H2F6

Chemical and physical properties

Appearance Low boiling liquid
Odour Odourless
Melting point -90.5  deg, C
Boiling point 33 deg.C
Flammability limit Non-flammable
Solubility in water 3.834 gm per litre @ 25 deg.C
Stability Stable under recommended storage conditions

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Application areas
  • Substitution possibilities
  • Advantages of HFO-1336mzz
  • Producers
PETROLEUM JELLY – INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Petroleum jelly is mixture of mineral waxes and oils.  They are stabilized in such fashion that the oil appears to form the internal phase, whereas the wax compound forms the external phase.

Petroleum jelly has fibrous or grease like structure and also possess discreet drop point and penetration value

Petroleum jelly may be considered as microcrystalline wax which has absorbed the oil, resulting in an amorphous jelly like mass.  It is mostly available in two colours namely white and yellow.

Alternate name   Mineral jelly
Petrolatum
Appearance Amorphous swollen jelly like mass
CAS Number 8009-03-8
Solubility   Insoluble in water.Soluble in dichloromethane, chloroform, benzene, diethyl ether, carbon disulfide and oil of turpentine.
Density @ 60 deg C, kg/L 0.840 to  0.866 
Melting point 46 to 52 deg C.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Types
  • Application sector
  • Import / export in India
  • Indian demand
  • Producers of petroleum jelly in India
  • Global producers
  • Global petroleum jelly market
POLYETHER ETHER KETONE (PEEK) - PRODUCT PROFILE

General Details

CAS No.   29658-26-2 (Base Polymer)
Appearance        Colourless, organic, thermoplastic polymer
Family Polyaryletherketone (PAEK) family
Odour     Essentially odourless
Melting Point   334 deg. C
Solubility in water  Insoluble
Volatile content   <1%
Specific gravity    1.42
Tensile strength   92 MPa
Flexural Modulus 3660 MPa
Thermal deflection at 264 psi 160 deg. C
Chemical resistance  Excellent
Heat distortion temperature    300 deg. C
Continuous service temperature 200 deg. C
Water absorption at 23 deg. C   0.15%
Near field weldability    Good

Features of the product

PEEK is high performance engineering plastic material with high temperature resistance, self lubrication and high mechanical strength.

PEEK exhibits good chemical resistance in many environments, including alkalis (i.e. sodium, potassium and ammonium hydroxides), aromatic hydrocarbons, alcohols (i.e. ethanol, propanol), greases, oils and halogenated hydrocarbons.

PEEK is used in critical and hostile environments. It is of particular interest, where heat resistance and hydrolytic stability are important.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Product application
  • Demand drivers for PEEK
  • Global demand and growth
  • Producers
PARIS CLIMATE PACT CLEAR ON TARGET BUT ON STRATEGY NOT YET

After the climate pact in  Paris, there appear to be an euphoria amongst  participating nations  , as if the climate crisis and global warming threat have been sorted out once for all in one stroke.

A careful reading of the pact would  make one realise that what has been achieved was to agree on the target of adopting the goal of well below 2 deg.C for temperature rise  and followed by discussions on financing of developing economies to help make the transaction. The agreement which is scheduled to go into effect from 2020 is only a system of voluntary pledges made by individual countries to limit their green  house emissions.

The Paris Pact  requires developed countries to raise finances of  $100 billion  per year as floor level by 2020 to help the developing countries in  their mitigation activities. There are also series of deadlines for review and discussions. Nothing really has happened beyond this, for all practical purposes.

It is conspicuous that the impediments  for achieving the target have not been discussed in depth  during the  Paris Climate Meet or even broad road map developed for the purpose. There is still considerable difference of opinion as to which countries contribute more to global warming and also definite view of a few developed countries  that some of the highly populous developing countries with unchecked population growth can be  a stumbling block for achieving the target.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

IS INDIAN HERBAL SECTOR FACING CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE?

Government of India has expressed concern in the parliament about the mushrooming of herbal products in India. 
Government has said that many producers of herbal products claim that their products cure diseases such as diabetes, herbal products are touted as energy boosters, as oils for arthritis and as slimming packs among others, Number of cases have been framed against herbal companies by the state governments for making such tall claims and issuing objectionable advertisement without any basis or scientific evidence.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

UPDATE ON INDIAN PETROLEUM SECTOR

Recent developments in petroleum sector are  discussed in the following articles

  • Project plans of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)
  • Cairn India set to roll-out enhanced oil recovery plan
  • Petronet to offer value added services at Kochi terminal
  • ONGC-Reliance Industries row on KG gas
  • Govt relaxes guidelines for small, isolated gas fields
UPDATE ON PROGRAMMES TO PRODUCE FUEL FROM WASTE

India produces a lot of waste, some of which can be converted into automobile fuel.

Food waste is another feedstock to the plant.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that one third of the food in the world is wasted.  In India, the waste runs up to 50% of the food produced. 

Biowaste forms 55% of all municipal waste in India.  All these waste, if collected and segregated, can produce fuel of good quality.  To be fully sustainable, this waste has to go back to the soil, but a waste to fuel plant that can also generate safe char for the soil can cut down depletion significantly. The hurdles to actually running such a plant can be enormous.

India produces about 200 million metric tonne of agricultural waste a year, enough to produce 60 million tonne of oil a year.  It is about 40% of the current consumption of oil in the country, but the mathematics does not directly translate into good economics.  The crop residue is dispersed all over the country, and it is not possible to bring them to a few plants for processing.  Neither is it possible to take the char back to the fields in all cases.  So the best way seems to be to build small plants near the fields.

Several companies around the world  working on waste to fuel technologies are discussed in this article

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Waste to energy plant in Tamil Nadu
  • 40 kw bio-CNG  plant in Chennai
WHY FALL IN SOLAR POWER COST?

Since 2010, over 7500 MW of solar power projects have been tendered in India and the winning tariffs have fallen by 58 percent. Winning quotes now are less than one-third of the 2009 solar feed in tariff rates.

China, which supplies over 51 percent of the solar modules that India  deploys, has large scale vertically integrated units manufacturing crystalline silicon (c-Si) modules.Recent studies suggest that the supply chain benefit from these clusters is continuing to deliver gains resulting in cheaper modules.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

OTHER FEATURES

PLANT CLOSURES

The articles discusses about the closure of following plants

  • Closure of Niagara Falls plant
  • Nufarm to close facility at Calgary
  • Cabot to shut Indonesia carbon black facility

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

The articles discuss about the accidents that occurred in the following plants

  • China mine collapse: 25 trapped
  • 100 killed in Nigerian gas tanker fire

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Probe into aluminium foil imports from China
  • Anti dumping duty likely on mulberry silk imports
  • Govt. may extend antidumping duty on Chinese melamine

NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Alpha olefins projects in North America
  • Acrylonitrile  projects of Ineos
  • Chemours’s aniline project in USA
  • Ethoxylation plant in Texas,USA
  • SAP expansion  project of  Nippon Shokubai in Belgium
  • Optical use polyvinyl alcohol film project of Kuraray in Japan
  • Toluene diisocyanate BASF plant at Ludwigshafen in Germany

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

USE OF GRAPHENE TO DETOXIFY NUCLEAR WASTE

Graphene, the thinnest and strongest substance, could be used to help detoxify nuclear waste thanks to the latest discovery involving graphene. Experiments show that it can act as a "super sieve", able to separate different atomic isotopes of hydrogen and create the expensive "heavy water" needed by the nuclear industry, researchers said.

This is the first time that graphene — which consists of a crystal lattice of carbon arranged in layers just one atom thick — has been shown to act as a subatomic filter.

The findings could revolutionise the production of the heavy water composed of a rare form of hydrogen called deuterium, which is expensive to manufacture and purify with existing technology.

Above subject is further discussed in this article.

Recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • A new material to make roads ice proof
  • Bioactive’ glass for tooth fillings
  • Use of galvanised steel  in cars
  • Biobased butadiene

CHINA NEWS

The recent developments  in China are discussed in the following articles

  • Lithium hexafluorophosphate project
  • Iron oxide pigment plant in Ningbo
  • Maleic Anhydride 
  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • High purity boric acid project
  • Ferrous oxalate project
  • Melamine project
  • Potassium humate compound fertilizer project

NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Extraction of ethanol from agri residues
  • Emission standards for thermal plants
  • GTT to offer India LNG shipbuilding tech
  • Proposal to extract iron from red mud
  • More cement firms in Tamil Nadu use hazardous waste
  • Indorama to acquire PET producer in India

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

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

  • Flightless insect species
  • Mahyco Monsanto cancels Bt cotton licence over royalty payment
  • Value added products from coconut
  • Dow’s enlist Duo herbicide


PHARMA PAGE

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

  • IIT-M develops carbon ‘nanotube’ to kill cancer cells
  • Seaweed capsules for diabetic treatment

ENERGY PAGE

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

  • Solar power generation capacity in India
  • Wind power capacity in India
  • Foreign direct investment in renewable sector
  • Wind power scenario in Tamil Nadu
  • Nuclear power capacity build up programme in India
  • Japan court clears way to restarting Kansai Electric's nuclear plants
  • ONGC to spend Rs.3,500 cr on drawing  coal bed methane
  • India to become second largest coal consumer in the world – Findings of study
  • LNG terminals in  east coast of India
  • Govt.’s budget for  rooftop solar power project
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Spot price of polymers in China – Period December 2015
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during December 2015
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