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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Jan 2011


Highlights of Some of the Articles
INDIAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY NOW DRIFTING WITHOUT DEFINITE GAME PLAN In India today, in many states, there are not many medium or large scale chemical projects that are under implementation. Even number of projects in the planning stage in these states appear to be negligible. A number of chemical project schemes that have been taken up for evaluation and feasibility study have been given up mid way. This should be a matter of concern for the Indian government and the chemical industries in India. While the capacity creation task in the chemical industries is languishing , there are, of course, investments being made in the sugar, cement, steel , power and petroleum refinery sector. But, such investments cannot be a consolation for the organic and inorganic chemical industry, which appear to be losing its confidence and sense of direction. Even the investment plans for capacity creation and expansion of petroleum refineries lack clarity, as India presently imports more than 160 million tonnes per annum of crude oil constituting around 80% of the Indian requirement. With no feasibility of stepping up the crude oil production substantially from indigenous source, it is expected that Indian import of crude oil may jump to as high as 230 million tones per annum in the next few years. This can be considered as an unacceptable situation. In many vital and basic chemical projects such as Titanium dioxide, Methanol, Styrene. Vinyl acetate monomer, etc., there are no immediate plans for massive capacity build up. Such situation can create sort of vacuum in the chemical industries in the coming years. Steady and sustained growth of chemical industry is vitally necessary for the overall industrial growth and economic development of the country. Obviously, such growth can happen only by stepping up the investments in a big way in the medium scale chemical industries , that call for confidence and enthusiasm amongst investors. While a few major petrochemical projects have been planned , there is no focus on capacity build up for the downstream products and in the medium scale industries , which have to come in a big way. The Government of India (Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers) and Chemical Industry Associations should ponder over this scenario and work out some game plan for the future immediately. The constraint in building up medium scale projects is largely due to the lack of confidence about the export capability, excessive dependence on overseas technology source and lack of sustained efforts in indiginisation of technology. Specialty chemicals are an area of great opportunity for India but again the Indian chemical industries are stuck up in this field and unable to exploit the investment prospects adequately due to poor product and application development efforts. Many contract manufacturing opportunities have come up in India in recent times, particularly in the biotechnology and bio pharmaceutical sector. But, such growth in CRAM sector is no substitute for manufacturing capacity creation for end products in a big way. Even in the case of pharma and biopharma sector, we hear more about approvals for generic molecules in the developed market rather than any spectacular and path breaking achievements in adequate scale. Another aspect that is heavily hanging in the minds of investors in chemical industries is uncertain energy scenario, with power shortage becoming a perennial problem and with no prospects of power generation being stepped up in tune with the projected need. Many suspect that the solar and nuclear power projects may end up creating more problems in future, since the cost of solar and nuclear power generation is expected to be as high as Rs. 17/ - per unit if not more. While the government has been announcing projects and plans in the energy front , many of them are not convincing and are not creating confidence amongst investors in the chemical projects about the futuristic energy scenario in the country. The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers has a crucial role to play and should see the writing on the wall. Integrated and pragmatic plans have to be evolved in tune with the country’s strength and opportunities and the problem that it faces in the energy front. There have to be a greater focus in identifying and encouraging investments in appropriate areas,according to the country’s available resources. A definite shift from the traditional thinking with regard to the investment priorities and goal direction have to be made considering the present compulsions and likely future constraints. Obviously, the focus has to be shifted to agro chemical, mineral based projects and bio technology in a big way. The country has to learn a lot from China which is creating massive capacities in several areas, clearly keeping the global market in view and its own strength. The strategy of China is to lure the overseas investments and encourage the multi national companies to have a big stake in the growth of Chinese chemical industries. The investment of multi national companies in chemical industries in China is now reaching such high proportions, that marketing of the products both in China and in global market is a matter of utmost priority and vital interest as much to the multi national companies who have invested in China as to Chinese chemical industries itself. Such situation has arisen that it is now difficult to view the Chinese Chemical industries in isolation without linking the role of multi national companies to the happenings in chemical industries in China. This inter dependability is doing a lot of good to the growth and progress of chemical industries in China. Obviously, the Chinese Government, have made a game plan and such game plan is conspicuous by its absence in India. Ministry of Chemical & Fertilisers of Government of India have no time to lose.
All those who were critics of the chemical industries in China sometime back, across the world, appear to have now become admirers. At one time, the critics called the chemical industries in China as lacking in competitive edge to compete in the global market and they expressed concern about the environmental issues and safety norms adhered to by Chinese chemical industries. Chemical industries in China were criticized for setting up plants, without adequate environmental safeguards and dumping the goods that are not on par with the global standards at throw away prices in the world market. It was true that around 30 years back, the technology standards of many chemical industries in China considerably lagged behind those of their counter parts in Europe and USA. However, even with the sort of comparatively low technology, chemical industries in China started building and expanding , realising the fact that without getting on to the job by building capacities and forging ahead, it can never reach the desired standards.. There were some slippages but the idea and determination was clear. The success came before long. When the doors were opened and the opportunities were extended to the chemical industries in China by the dynamic and forward looking policies of Government of China, the men and women behind the scene rose in spectacular fashion and have now proved themselves in the eyes of the world. Now, chemical industries in China are setting bench marks, particularly for the developing countries across the world. With the urge to improve the business frontiers and entering into new areas of chemical industries, the project promoters in China are aggressive in their approach and have penetrated the global market in a steady manner. With the steady improvement in economy and percapita income in China and expectation of the people increasing, the whole world have now realized about the market potential for chemical industries in China. It was a tribute to the chemical industry community in China that the western based multi national companies realized that they would not be able to exploit the market potential and opportunities in China without themselves investing in China. They also realized that without forging partnership with chemical industries in China, they will lose their competitive strength in the global market and may even lose their existing market share to some extent. What is particularly striking is the remarkable changed attitude of the investors and professionals in the chemical industries in China, who started looking at the overseas investors as partners in development rather than as intruders. This healthy and forward looking attitude created the right climate for overseas investment to take place in Chinese chemical industries in a big way. There is no global chemical company in the world worth it’s name at present, that do not have presence in China. Many multinational companies have invested and created production facilities in China and in collaboration with Chinese companies. The whole exercise have been smooth and straightforward and they are rewarding both for the Chinese chemical industries as well as the overseas partners. In recent times, not only investments have been made by the overseas companies in setting up offices and production facilities in China but also in research and development activities with long term strategies .Several healthy global technology collaboration for research activities between Chinese universities and western based multi national companies are on the anvil. In view of such extensive, healthy and continuing collaboration between chemical industries in China and multinational companies, a situation have now arisen where stake and interest of the multinational companies in the progress and prosperity of chemical industries in China are as much as that of the natives of Chinese chemical industries themselves. In future, multinational companies would be as much affected by the happenings in China for the good or the bad as the native chemical industries. One can now say confidently Chinese chemical industries have become global in attitude and outlook. Under the circumstance, it goes without saying that the future trends in global chemical industries would be significantly influenced by the performance and progress of chemical industries in China, now operated both by the native Chinese as well as multi national companies.
In spite of the fact that Sri Lanka is a small sized island nation, it is blessed with valuable mineral resources such as ilmenite and graphite, which offer scope for setting up large down stream mineral products. With its agricultural plantations such as tea, rubber and coconut, Sri Lanka also offers opportunities for investment in the agro chemical area. There are huge potentials for setting up medicinal plants based on variety of herbs available in the country. The opportunities for setting up research centres with global collaboration particularly in the bio tech area is also immense. All such opportunities call for centralized and imaginative and integrated planning efforts from the government to prepare the road map for development in the next decade. Today, the Government of Sri Lanka is placing considerable stress on promoting the tourism industry in the country. While this is as it should be, such stress should also be made on promoting several other investment opportunities, that would provide a big thrust for the economic and social progress of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka have all the potentials to achieve great growth similar to what the other smaller countries have achieved such as Singapore and Taiwan. The ball is clearly in the court of the Sri Lankan government to give a lead and direction to the investment projects. Here are a few examples of growth opportunities. Exploitation of ilmenite resources Sri Lanka is blessed with vast deposits of ilmenite with titanium dioxide content in the region of 50%, which is much higher than the content available in several other countries such as Australia, Norway and Quebec (Canada) Titanium dioxide is a very valuable white pigment used in the paint , plastic and other industries and the present global demand is around 4.5 million tonnes per annum. The demand is steadily going up at 3% to 4% per annum internationally. There is strong case for setting up 50,000 tonnes per anuum of titanium dioxide project based on ilmenite that would call for investment of around Rs. 600 crores (Indian rupees). To supply the chlorine requirement for the project, a caustic soda//chlorine project should also be set up that would call for an investment of Rs. 200 crores (Indian rupees). If an imaginative package would be prepared by the Sri Lankan government , enthusiastic overseas investment in this significant project would come forth. This project would provide direct and indirect employment to atleast 5000 persons and spur all round industrial activities in the related engineering fields such as civil, mechanical, electrical, electronics and instrumentation. Integrated herbal project In recent times, huge development efforts are being made around the world to prepare drugs and cosmetic products from natural herbs which are eco friendly and non synthetic. Countries like Sri Lanka have enormous traditional knowledge with regard to the cultivation and growth of herbs and natural native medicines made out of them and used for centuries by the citizens. There are scope for promoting many herbs in Sri Lanka such as Ashwagandha , Aloe vera, Stevia and others. What is required is an integrated herbal development programme that has to be launched by the Sri Lankan government that would involve promotion of cultivation, extraction of active ingredients , certification and application development efforts. Such projects would not only promote huge employment opportunities in the agricultural field but also contribute to the growth of bio technology and bio pharmaceutical industry in the country. Avoid non appropriate areas While it is important to focus on several appropriate areas of investment for which a few examples are given above, it is also necessary that Sri Lanka should avoid investments in areas , where it has no strength. For example , there is no necessity to create or expand the petroleum refining capacity in Sri Lanka or set up petro chemical projects. In view of the lack of crude oil or natural gas deposits in the region, Sri Lanka should decide to buy such petroleum product requirements in future instead of making them. A pragmatic “make or buy decision” with regard to several of the industrial products is vitally necessary to ensure optimum deployment of resources and get quick results. Need for strengthening technical education Sri Lanka should take some very urgent steps to strengthen the technical educational institutions, which would pave way for creating highly skilled and knowledgeable technical manpower resource for the country. With several Sri Lankans with high qualifications and credentials serving in Universities abroad, attracting talent to set up and run such technical institutions in Sri Lanka is well possible immediately. It will be appropriate to build atleast two institutions in the pattern of Indian Institutes of Technology ( IITs )operating in India with good infrastructure facilities and appropriate educational climate. No time to lose Sri Lankan government has to move with great speed to realize the full industrial and economic potential of this glorious country. All that is called for is a leadership with understanding of the need and capability to implement projects in efficient manner. Probably, it is high time that the focus of Sri Lanka should shift from political strives to economic and industrial possibilities.
In recent times, most of the investments in petro chemical projects in the world have been made in middle east region and China. There has been a steady and clear shift in the concentration of petro chemical industries to these regions, which has even created some sort of over capacity situation for several petro chemical products in the world. The resultant situation is that both the middle east region and China are now overtly dependent on the world market for selling their products and keeping the operational level of their chemical plants at high level. This article discusses the above sector in detailed manner.
A new report released by the US Energy Department paints a grim picture on future supplies of rare earths, which have shot into prominence due to artificial shortages triggered by China’s sovereignty dispute with Japan. This article discusses the above subject.
Global producers The United States is the biggest EPDM producer. Japan and Korea come next. The combined capacity of five leading companies including DSM of the Netherlands, DuPont Dow Elastomer LLC and ExxonMobil Corporation of the United States, Bayer Group of Germany and Mitsui & Co Ltd of Japan accounts for 70% of the world total. This article discusses the following details :
  • Patent applications
  • Technology
  • Demand in China
  • Producers in China
Appearance Clear Colourless liquid CAS No. 1445-79-0 Molecular formula Ga(CH3)3 Stability in air Ignites upon exposure Solubility Soluble in aromatic and saturated aliphatic and cycloaliphatic hydrocarbons Hazards Trimethyl gallium is pyrophoric liquid and it decomposes violently in water. Skin contact can cause severe burns. Fumes may cause skin and eye irritation. Inhalation of fumes should be avoided. This article discusses the following details :
  • Handling
  • Storage
  • Applications
  • Manufacturing process
  • Demand driver
  • Global producers
  • Prognosis
Alternate names Perfluoro(methylvinyl ether), Trifluoro(trifluoromethoxy)ethylene, Ethene, trifluoro(trifluoromethoxy), Trifluoromethoxytrifluoroethylene, 3-Oxaperfluorobutene Appearance A coluorless gas Odour Odourless CAS No. 1187-93-5 Molecular formula C3F6O EINECS number 214-703-7 Boiling Point at 1 atm –23 deg. C Liquid Density, 20°C 1430 kg/m3 (89.3 lb/ft3) Stability Stable under normal storage conditions This article discusses the following details
  • Storage
  • Hazards
  • Application
  • Co-polymer of TFE and PMVE – Technology development
  • Manufacturers
  • Synthesis
CPWs are chlorinated normal-alkanes with carbon chain lengths of between 10 and 30 carbon atoms and chlorinated to 40% to 70% by weight. General formula for Chlorinated ParaffinsCxH(2x-y+2)Cly Chlorinated paraffins (CPW) are made by chlorinating the paraffin fractions obtained from petroleum distillation. The paraffins are reacted with chlorine, resulting in chlorinated paraffins with varying degree of chlorination. This article discusses the following details :
  • Grades
  • Product identification
  • Physical characteristics
  • Application
  • Import
  • Export
  • Indian manufacturers
  • Indian production
  • Demand supply scenario
  • Pattern of application sectorwise demand
  • Global demand supply scenario
    • Global producers
    • Global demand
    • Application sectorwise demand
  • oRecent developments
  • Process outline
Alternate name Methanoic acid Appearance Colourless, odorous acid Molecular formula HCOOH Grades   Concentration of Formic acid Grade 85% Formic acid Industry Standard grade 88% Formic acid Reagent grade ACS / FCC grade 90% Formic acid Commercial grade 95% Formic acid Reagent grade 98% Formic acid Glacial grade 99-100% Formic acid Pure grade This article discusses the following details
  • Application
  • Indian import
  • Indian export
  • CIF Price trend for imported product
  • Indian manufacturers
  • Indian production
  • Indian demand supply scenario
  • Global demand supply scenario
    • Global use pattern
    • Major global producers and their installed capacity
    • Scenario in China
  • Process outline
  • Technology sources
  • Technology development
ANTI DUMPING PAGE The antidumping measures introduced in the various countries in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed
  • Melamine
  • Ethanolamines
  • Methanol
  • Saccharin
  • Cellophane
  • Polypropylene
  • Aniline
  • Chloroform
  • Ethanolamines
PLANT CLOSURES The article discusses the plans for closure of selected units by the following players
  • BASF exits paper chemicals at German site
  • Clariant plans
SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE Following safety and accident details are discussed:
  • Ineos’ Chocolate Bayou Units Offline
  • Explosion at New York DuPont plant kills one
  • Nitrogen gas leak kills 2 at Dr Reddy’s Lab facility
NEWS ROUND UP The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed: INTERNATIONAL
  • Proppants Expansion
  • Biosuccinic Acid
  • Bio based Complex in Russia
  • Silica
CHINA NEWS The recent developments on the following products/events are updated
  • Coal to chemical projects
  • BDO plant
  • Thioester antioxidants
  • Industrial gases from LNG cold energy
  • High purity ammonia plant
  • Air separation unit
  • Polyamide
  • Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)
  • Isophorone
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS The recent developments on the following technology efforts are highlighted
  • World's first methanol factory using CO2 from steam
  • New method to desalinate water, produce electricity
  • Convertion of waste into wealth
  • Rare earth based water purification technology
  • Denitrification system removes phosphorus
  • Bacteria-free plastic skins
AGROCHEMICAL PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • Endosulfan ban moves
  • Organic products
  • PBL Technology
  • Use of olive seeds and coconut fibre in auto components
PHARMA PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are highlighted:
  • Cinnamon can fight cancer, diabetes
  • BARC develops drugs to treat cancers
  • Tea tree oil may combat skin cancer
  • Cholesterol drug recalled from UK
  • New drug-resistant bugs a major threat
  • GLP-I drug for type-2 diabetics
  • Salbutamol / Ciprofloxacin – Long period of litigation by Cipla
  • Progress of stem cell research in USA during 2010
ENERGY PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • First solar park opens in Gujarat to generate 500 mw
  • Solar power potential in Tamil Nadu - Findings of the study
  • India’s potential for renewable sources – Findings of the study
  • First supercritical thermal power station synchronised
  • Naphtha based gas turbine power station in Tamil Nadu incurring huge loss
  • Energy storage facility in Mexico
  • Production of crude oil from Africa
ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • Proposed ban on phosphates in Laundry Detergents in EU
  • Bisphenol A
  • Green house gas control technology guidelines in USA
PRICE TRENDS Global price trends on the following products are provided :
  • TiO2 producers up 2011 prices
  • Fertilizer price in China
  • Snake venom unit closed
  • Arguments for and against seawater desalination plants
  • Arkema’s plans for acrylics projects
  • Rare earths processing plant in India.
  • Russia in milestone Oil pipeline supply to china
  • Prospects for coal to chemical industry
  • Tender
  • Chemicals imported at the Chennai port during the month of November 2010
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