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                       HIGHLIGHTS OF ARTICLES FROM AUGUST 2017 ISSUE OF

                                                  NANDINI CHEMICAL JOURNAL

 

  • TALK OF THE MONTH - CORPORATE PLANNING NEGLECTED FUNCTION IN INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
  • SYNTHETIC VANILLIN – PRODUCT PROFILE
  • BIO PROPYLENE GLYCOL - HIGHLIGHTS OF  GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
  • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGH DENSITY SWEETENER INDUSTRY
  • GLOBAL HELIUM SCENARIO
  • WHY NOT EMULATE CHINESE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY PARTLY?
  • HAS INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT  IN TAMIL NADU  SLACKENED?
  • NEED TO REVIVE NAGARJUNA OIL CORPORATION PROJECT - TO SUSTAIN INDUSTRIAL GROWTH IN TAMIL NADU
  • INFLUENCE OF FREIGHT FACTOR IN GLOBAL DEMAND FOR CRUDE OIL - FINDINGS OF  IEA REPORT
  • UTILISATION OF PLASTIC WASTE  RECENT DEVELOPMENTS  & TECHNOLOGY EFFORTS
  • NATURAL GAS PROJECTS IN QATAR – FORGING AHEAD
  • DECISION IN STOCKHOLM CONVENTION COPS-8 CHEMICALS PROPOSED
  • FOR LISTING AS POPs - IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIA
  • TIO2 TO BE CLASSIFIED AS SUSPECTED CARCINOGEN BY INHALATION – SURPRISING REGULATION
  • ACETATE TOW – GLOBAL SCENARIO
  • NEED FOR REALISTIC ASSESSMENT OF METHANOL PROJECTS’ FEASIBILITY IN INDIA
  • LPG BOTTLING CAPACITY IN INDIA
  • ANTI DUMPING PAGE
  • NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL
  • TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
  • CHINA NEWS
  • NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA 
  • AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE
  • ENERGY PAGE
  • OTHER ARTICLES
  • TENDER

 

TALK OF THE MONTH 

CORPORATE PLANNING NEGLECTED FUNCTION IN INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

Except a few large chemical industries,  managements  of chemical units in India do not seem to give due importance to the corporate planning functions.

The corporate planning functions not only involve  working out long term project plans for the chemical  industrial units but also enable the units to keep themselves informed and updated about the various developments  from time to time that have far reaching  importance and significance for the present and future prospects of the units.

The core functions of the corporate planning consist of keeping track of emerging technology practices, product obsolescence trends, market dynamics, competitor’s strength, new projects under planning or implementation,, policies of the governments across the world, price behaviour, raw material supply scenario etc.

Mistaken view of small and medium scale units

Possibly, most of the small and medium scale units are of the mistaken view  that corporate planning functions have no particular relevance for them, since their scale of operations are not high.

In view of such misguided view and approach, many chemical and allied units in medium and small scale sector have suffered, as they are surprised by the sudden developments  in the market or in the technology front and are unprepared to meet such eventualities. Further,  they are mostly  unaware of the emerging opportunities in the chemical industry  in the core and allied functions, due to the changing consumer’s taste and preferences  as well as environmental compulsions.

Neglect by research bodies

Even in the case of research and development institutions such as CSIR labs, corporate planning is neglected, which is a vital function that would help in identifying the appropriate areas where future research efforts are required in tune with the market needs  and global trends.

External dependence for ideas

These days, it is not unusual to find managements of chemical industrial units and entrepreneurs seeking ideas on new projects or diversification opportunities in the related or unrelated areas for investment. It is also common to find the industrial units seeking  information on opportunities to take over or acquire equity share in other companies, thinking that such take over would enable them to make big leap forward in quick time.

Those organisations, which do not pay due attention and importance to corporate planning functions, seek the services of consultancy organisations to identify such opportunities, who often attempt to do so in  short span of time, often without adequate understanding of the strength and weakness of the project promoters.

Such conditions indicate that  the companies have not taken steps to equip themselves  adequately to identify  and utilise the challenging opportunities ahead. Obviously, identification of such opportunities can be better done by corporate planning division of the companies rather than by external consultants. though the external  consultants may help  in the task to a limited extent.

Need to build `think tank team

Corporate planning functions have to be necessarily entrusted by the companies to a small team of experienced professionals ,who have capability and knowledge to act as the think tank of the organisation. Such team need   complete understanding  not only about the external environment but also about the internal challenges faced by the companies and it’s needs, with good understanding of  the strength and weakness of the organisation.

No more optional activity

Today, Indian chemical industries  face variety

In such circumstances, keeping the companies  well informed is necessary requirement and corporate planning functions should not any more be viewed as optional area of  activity.

SYNTHETIC VANILLIN – PRODUCT PROFILE

Product characteristics

  • CAS number                                        121-33-5
  • Molecular formula                                C8H8O3
  • Appearance                                          White to yellow crystalline powder with pleasant aromatic vanilla odour and taste
  • Biodegradability                                    Readily biodegradable
  • Safety and handling                               Vanillin is harmful, if swallowed.
  • Synthetic vanillin  may be harmful by inhalation or in contact with skin and is an eye irritant.

Producer’s specification

Name of the producer                         Borregaard AS, Borregaard Ingredients, Norway

Brand name                                          EuroVanillin Supreme is lignin based vanillin

Description

Value

Appearance

Crystals/powder

Colour

White to slightly coloured

Odour

Conforms

Identification (IR)

Conforms to standard

Ether solution

Conforms

Ethanol solution

Conforms

Purity (GC)

Min 99.6%

Organic volatile impurities (GC)

Conforms

Melting point

81-83 deg C

Loss on drying

Max. 0.5%

Sulphated ash Max.

0.05%

Colour in ethanol solution

Not more than B6

Sulphuric acid test

Conforms

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Product application
  • Indian production
  • New project proposed
  • Proposed production capacity in the project complex
  • Demand driver
  • Indian demand and growth rate
  • Outline of process
  • Global scenario
  • Demand driver
  • Major global producers

 

BIO PROPYLENE GLYCOL

HIGHLIGHTS OF  GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS

General details

Following details are given in this article

Application

Conventional process

Bio based routes for biopropylene glycol (Various organizations)

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGH DENSITY SWEETENER INDUSTRY

High intensity sweeteners (HIS) are a group of substances that are much sweeter than common table sugar, or sucrose.  Most are artificial, produced by chemical synthesis, but a few are natural products.  In addition to being extremely sweet, HIS do not contribute to dental caries and have no calorific value.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Global demand trend
  • Global consumption by region
  • Maltodextrin
  • Xylitol.
  • Stevia
  • Stevia sweetener via fermentation
  • Patent for stevia variety
  • Ajinomoto sells aspartame business
GLOBAL HELIUM SCENARIO

Helium gas is used for medical resonance imaging (MRI), semiconductors, welding and other manufacturing and industrial uses.

Helium is typically extracted from helium bearing natural gas by a low temperature separation process that removes the crude helium (containing mostly nitrogen and helium) as a gas from the natural gas portion (mainly hydrocarbons).  Helium is also extracted from the vent gases at some liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing plants.

North America remains the largest producer and consumer of helium, producing 78 million cubic meters (MMcm) and consuming 71 MMcm.  Several other countries, notably Qatar, Russia, Poland and Australia, produce meaningful amounts of helium. 

Total global consumption of helium is currently estimated to be around 175 million cubic meters, with expected growth of 2%  per year for the next five years.

MRI machines are the largest market for helium,  followed by electronics and semiconductors, fiber optics, and welding.

Following details are given in this article

  • Important global producers
  • Qatar helium supply and influence on global demand
  • Other details
  • Global helium resources
WHY NOT EMULATE CHINESE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY PARTLY ?

It is universally accepted that chemical,  petrochemical, agro chemical, pharmaceutical and other industries including biotech units in China have grown in multiple directions by leaps and bounds in the last few decades.

In the process of such breakneck speed, there have been a number of  mis adventures, failures and closure of units .

Nevertheless,the over all growth of chemical industry sector in China has been positive and impressive.

With stiff competition between various provinces in China and with each province trying to out do other provinces,  capacities have been built  in  China without due consideration for the market outlets in China and abroad. Obviously, market research functions have not been given serious attention that they deserve until recently.

Following details are discussed in this article.

What overall strategy ?

  • Low capacity utilisation
  • Massive overseas investment
  • Need to emulate China partly
HAS INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT  IN TAMIL NADU SLACKENED ?

Leader of opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly said that the industrial investment in Tamil Nadu has slackened and pointed our recent published reports in support of his view. Tamil Nadu government has denied this.

However, the fact is that significant  investments are not  happening in the industrial front in  Tamil Nadu in the past several years, commensurate with the potentials.

Rapid industrialisation can take place only by promoting a number of large scale projects, which will in turn lead to setting up of several medium and small scale projects and ancillary units.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Few bright spots
  • Short sighted public protests
  • Traditional industries not well supported
  • Potential project opportunities not utilised
  • Step motherly treatment to Industrial estates
  • Announcements galore
  • Prevalence of nepotism
NEED TO REVIVE NAGARJUNA OIL CORPORATION PROJECT  TO SUSTAIN INDUSTRIAL GROWTH IN TAMIL NADU

It is reported that Nagarjuna Oil Corporation based at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, promoted jointly by Nagarjuna Fertiliser Group and TIDCO, has filed for bankruptcy under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Background details

Nagarjuna Oil Corporation  is in the process of setting up  6 million tonne a year petroleum refinery in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu. The refinery located at about 200 km south of Chennai on the east coast is touted as the largest private sector investment in Tamil Nadu. Process plant works of this project commenced in July,2008. The project site is spread around 2000 acres, which includes 300 acres of green belt.

The project was to have been commissioned in 2012 at the  cost of Rs.3500 crore but continuous delays and cost over run have contributed to the project cost now exceeding to Rs.16,500  crore, with date of completion of the project still uncertain.

The project was designated as the Anchor unit of the proposed Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) in Cuddalore/Nagapattinam Districts.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Anchor unit for PCPIR
  • Fund constraint
  • Need for government intervention
INFLUENCE OF FREIGHT FACTOR IN GLOBAL DEMAND FOR CRUDE OIL - FINDINGS OF  IEA REPORT

One of the hottest debates today is over the prospect of peak oil demand in the world: whether or not electric vehicles along with general trends towards more fuel efficiency will ultimately lead to a peak and decline of total oil demand worldwide.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Freight factor in demand growth
  • Suggested strategies
UTILISATION OF PLASTIC WASTE  RECENT DEVELOPMENTS  & TECHNOLOGY EFFORTS

Part of the challenge for recyclers is that there is an unrelenting introduction of new plastic packaging materials with unique compositions tailored to provide superior performance characteristics for specific applications, which contributes to the increasing technical complexity of plastics recycling.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • World scenario
  • Plastic recycling scenario in India
  • New norms for plastic waste disposal in India
  • Use of plastic waste for road construction
  • Plastics recycling scenario in Europe
  • Plastics recycling scenario in China
  • New rules on waste plastics recycling
  • Plastic recycling scenario in USA
  • Plastic recycling scenario in Japan
  • Recycled plastic packaging from materials collected in supermarkets in Brazil
  • Coveris' innovative new film packaging
  • Polypropylene granules from plastic waste
  • Plastics waste gasification plant
  • Recycled plastics to make thermoplastic materials
  • A bacterium that degrades plastics identified
 NATURAL GAS PROJECTS IN QATAR – FORGING AHEAD

Gas, condensate, crude make Qatar the world’s fourth-biggest energy supplier.

Qatar pumps more oil and gas than Rosneft PJSC or Exxon Mobil Corp. and is the biggest producer and seller of liquefied natural gas.

Qatar has more than tripled output of gas over the last decade, even as its oil production slumped.

Now Qatar is doubling down on its main asset, the North Field, announcing plans to boost production at the world’s largest offshore gas deposit.

Located in the Persian Gulf, the field straddles Qatar’s maritime border with Iran, which refers to its side of the reservoir as South Pars.

Paris based Total SA, which has stakes in Qatari LNG projects,  will develop the Qatar’s Al Shaheen oil field.

State owned Qatar Petroleum has partnered with Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total and ConocoPhillips -- as well as with Japanese customers Mitsui & Co. and Marubeni Corp.  to build  14 plants that chill gas into a liquid for shipment to Asia and Europe.

Bottom of Form

Qatar Petroleum (QP), through its LNG producing divisions Qatargas and RasGas and other investments in related businesses, holds stakes in companies that extract, process, ship and receive gas. This integrated supply chain helps make Qatari LNG the cheapest in the world to produce, an advantage QP plans to exploit as competitors in Australia and the U.S. try to dethrone it as the top producer by volume.

Qatar Petroleum will boost its production by 30 percent to 100 million metric tonne a year within seven years from about 77 million metric  tonne currently.

If Qatar adds all the planned new LNG capacity, it will be the world’s top seller of the fuel in spite of expected increases in the U.S. and Australia.

Following details are discussed in this article.

  • Natural gas outlet from Qatar
  • Crude oil production
  • Production of refined products
DECISION IN STOCKHOLM CONVENTION COPS-8 CHEMICALS PROPOSED FOR LISTING AS POPs - IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIA

The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (SC COP-8) was held from 24 April to 5 May 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland.  The theme of the meetings were “A future detoxified:  Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.

In COP-8, three chemicals were proposed for listing as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

These are Decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE) , Short Chain Chlorinated Paraffin (SSCP) in Annexure-A for elimination and Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) in Annexure-C for unintentional release. 

Deca-BDE is a flame retardant used in electrical and electronic components and in the automobile and textile industry, whereas SCCPs are being used as a plasticizer in plastic (PVC), rubbers, paint and sealants with flame retardant properties.

However, there are specific exemptions that have been granted on the use of these chemicals .

Listing of the chemicals in Stockholm Convention with specific exemptions

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Implications For India
  • Deca-BDE
  • SCCP
  • HCBD
TIO2 TO BE CLASSIFIED AS SUSPECTED CARCINOGEN BY INHALATION – SURPRISING REGULATION

The committee for risk assessment (RAC) of the European Chemical  Agency (ECHA; Helsinki) has concluded that titanium dioxide (TiO2) should be classified as a category 2 carcinogen suspected of causing cancer through inhalation. 

The RAC found that the available scientific evidence meets the criteria in the European Union’s regulation on classification, labelling and packaging (CLP). 

The committee also ruled that there was insufficient evidence to classify TiO2 in the more severe category for carcinogenicity (category 1B), as originally proposed by France, the submitter of the dossier.  1B covers substances presumed to cause cancer.

The opinion will be formally adopted later by written procedure, ECHA says.  Following adoption, the opinion will go through a normal editorial check before it is sent to the European Commission for a final decision.

Robert Bird, Chairman of the Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA), expressed disappointment over the committee’s opinion.  “There are no grounds for classifying TiO2 as carcinogenic for humans by inhalation,” Bird said.  “Also, classification would do nothing to increase the level of protection of human health and the environment, which is the whole point of the labelling and classification system.”  TDMA said that 50 years of epidemiological data demonstrate no link between cancer in humans and exposure to titanium dioxide.

“In the studies considered by the RAC, the effects observed were specific to the rat and have not been seen in scientific studies on any other species, including humans, as they relate to a mode of action that only occurs in rats,” TDMA says.

Germany’s chemical industry association VCI (Frankfurt) says that the RAC’s evaluation “from a toxicological standpoint (is) not comprehensible and will lead to considerable uncertainty with consumers.”In addition, the decision will have serious consequences on the industry sector affected by it, says VCI director for technology and the environment.

VCI criticized the experiments whereby rats were subjected to inhalation of an extremely high concentration of titanium dioxide dust.  According to guidelines issued by ECHA, the OECD and the European Center for Ecotoxicity and Toxicology of Chemicals (Brussels), the results of such so called lung overload tests cannot be carried over to humans.

TiO2 is the most commonly used white pigment, being typically used in paint and paper.  It is generally found in a matrix with binders or plastics, so that it is not actually present as dust, and safe use is guaranteed, according to VCI.

                                                                            *****
 ACETATE TOW – GLOBAL SCENARIO

Acetate tow is sold principally to major tobacco companies for use as filter tow in cigarettes.

The global scenario of  tow can be viewed   in two parts – the first is the captive supply within China, and the second is the merchant market in the rest of the world which includes China imports.

At its peak, China imported about 120,000 metric tonne of tow [in 2012] but that amount sharply declined to approximately one-fifth of that in 2016, as Chinese capacity expansions came on stream.

As a result, the global capacity utilization rates serving the merchant market dropped from near 100% to 80%.

Following details are given in this article.

  • Global supply and demand trend
  • Leading producers
NEED FOR REALISTIC ASSESSMENT OF METHANOL PROJECTS’ FEASIBILITY IN INDIA

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has stressed the need for increasing production of methanol in India and has called for efforts to examine the various feedstock options.(Press report dated 2nd Aug, 2017)

India presently imports around 1.7 million metric tonne of methanol and the import has been steadily increasing at 7% per annum. It appears that the import of methanol in India would touch around                2 million metric tonne in 2020 that would lead huge outflow of foreign exchange.

Number of methanol plants are not operating in India at present due to lack of price competitiveness of produced methanol with the imported methanol.

This article discusses the feasible options for setting up methanol projects in India.

LPG BOTTLING CAPACITY IN INDIA

The existing  LNG bottling capacity in India is 23,514  metric tonne per annum (TMTPA) among 228 bottling plants for the three OMCs—Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.

IndianOil’s current capacity is 11,905 TMTPA (106 plants) while that of Hindustan Petroleum is 6,102 TMTPA (60 plants).

All bottling plants in India are operating over their capacity, as a lot of manual work has been done away with and as improved technologies—such as carousel instead of conveyor belts—are being used.

Following details are discussed in this article

  • Projects of Indian Oil Corporation
  • Other projects
  • Government of India’s target
ANTI DUMPING PAGE

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

  • Soda ash
  • Ofloxacin acid
  • Solar panel, cells
  • Sodium dichromate
  • PTFE
  • Sodium nitrite
NEWS ROUND UP – INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Proposed fumed silica plant in Kentucky, USA
  • Proposed pyrogenic silica plant in USA
  • Delay in ilmenite smelter project in Saudi Arabia
  • Methyl methacrylate project in South Korea
  • Chelated micronutrient plant in Sweden
  • Butyl glycol ether plant in Saudi Arabia
  • DSM/Evonik omega-3 JV site in USA
  • Ethyl mercaptan project in Belgium
  • Proposed projects of Ineos
  • Proposed projects of Borealis
  • Polymer processing cluster in Russia
  • World’s largest plant for propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol in USA
  • Sodium cyanide facility in Mexico
  • Chrome chemical business of Lanxess
  • Rare earth magnets project in Vietnam
  • Gas processing plant in USA
  • Ultramarine pigments
  • Lyocell fiber plant in Thailand
  • Bisphenol A to be identified as an SVHC under REACH
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

Recent developments on the following products are discussed

  • Non triazine H2S Scavenger Scavinator™
  • Organic Solvent Nanofiltration Membrane Technology
CHINA NEWS

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

  • Proposed coal to olefin project
  • Proposed polypropylene project
  • Methyl carbonate / Propanediol project
  • Coal to olefins projects
  • Coal to liquids projects
NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA 

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed

  • Regulations on  liquid nitrogen in food products
  • Loss making Kochi LNG terminal
AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

Recent developments  in the agro  chemical fields are  discussed in the following  articles

  • Glyphosate to be listed as carcinogen
  • Bispyribac sodium project in India
  • Criteria for endocrine disruptors
  • Turmeric can be used to fight cancer in children, find U.S. scientists
ENERGY PAGE

The recent developments in  energy field is discussed in this article.

  • Renewable volume obligations (RVOs) in USA
OTHER ARTICLES

EX-FACTORY PRICE OF CHEMICALS IN CHINA - PERIOD JULY 2017

TENDER

CHEMICALS IMPORTED AT THE CHENNAI PORT

DURING THE MONTH OF MAY 2017