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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Apr 2014


Highlights of Some of the Articles
AVOIDABLE FACTORY ACCIDENTS DUE TO NEGLIGENCE Several innocent workers have died on the spot after inhaling the toxic fumes at effluent treatment plant in a cotton dyeing unit at Perundurai industrial estate near Erode in Tamil Nadu on 18th March,2014. It is reported that the collapse of the valve resulted in emission of toxic fumes, which killed the workers at the spot. What causes high concern is that such accidents in industries are occurring too frequently these days and number of nearly similar accidents have taken place, particularly at fire cracker units in Sivakasi region in Tamil Nadu, causing loss of valuable lives of poor people. Such accidents have become regular occurrences in other parts of the country also. . Most of these accidents happen largely due to the fact that unskilled and semi skilled workers are made to work without necessary basic safety equipment such as mask, gloves, proper uniform etc. They are not provided adequate training in adhering to safety norms. Most of the victims are innocent and poorly educated contract labourers employed on adhoc basis, as daily wage earners. While management of these factories should accept responsibility for such distressing scenario,one can not ignore the fact that the government owned monitoring agencies such as inspectorate of factories, boiler inspectorate, pollution control boards should also accept part of the blame . These government owned institutions have the duty and authority to inspect the facilities from time to time and take necessary steps to ensure that adequate safety measures are implemented. Inadequate monitoring on the part of enforcement authorities, inadequacy of safety equipment in place and lack of awareness on safety related matter amomgst employees have considerably contributed to the accidents. It would be appropriate to make both the management of the factories and the enforcement officials accountable.We see that while factory officials are arrested, enforcement officials who have also failed in the duty, simply remain as investigators without being pulled up, asked to explain and made accountable. It is very important that the government should insist on the appointment of full time safety officers in all factories, whether small, medium or large scale units. It is now seen that many factories do not have such trained cadre. It should also be made compulsory that 15 days refreshment course on safety measures should be conducted by every factory once in a year, particularly at the level of unskilled and semi skilled workers who operate at the shop floor. The country has lost several valuable lives in such industrial accidents in recent times, which are predictable and avoidable.
Well researched investigative book has been released by Nandini Consultancy Centre ,a firm of chemical engineers and chemical business consultancy organisation based in Chennai and Singapore, on “Case for reconsidering recommendation of Rangarajan panel on gas price”. The author of the book is Mr.Swaminathan Venkataraman, Chemical Engineer and MBA (IIMA, Ahmedabad) and he is Director of Nandini Consultancy S Pte Ltd., Singapore . The price of the book is Rs.300/-(Rupees three hundred only) For further details please contact: Nandini Consultancy Centre, M-60/1, 4th Cross Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai-600 090. Phone:044-24916037 E-mail: Highlights of the book is provided in this article. Rangarajan panel recommendations The Rangarajan panel recommended that the domestic gas price be indexed with international price, implying that the present practice of the administered price mechanism be scrapped. The Rangarajan panel has suggested a pricing formula for future contracts, based on the average of two prices — price at other producing destinations and the volume weighted price of US‘s Henry Hub, UK‘s NBP (National Balancing Point) and Japan Custom Cleared (on net back basis, since it is an importer) trailing for 12 months. Rangarajan panel claims that the increased gas prices in India can, in principle, incentivize investment in gas exploration efforts in the Indian upstream sector, so that production of gas in India reaches optimum levels and all exploitable reserves put to production expeditiously.India also needs to ensure that producers would not cartelise, as there is a huge unmet demand. According to the Rangarajan panel, the twin objectives of expediting production and avoiding cartelization can be achieved by ensuring that producers in India get at least the average price of what producers elsewhere are getting. Following details are discussed in this article
  • Government’s notification
  • Production of natural gas
  • India’s projected gap in supply for natural gas (12th plan period)
  • India’s track record in gas exploration
  • Prospects for increase in domestic gas supply
  • Likely impact on the natural gas price
  • Likely impact of gas price increase on Indian urea industry
  • Projected Indian demand for urea
  • Likely impact of gas price increase on power sector
  • Observations
  • International gas supply scenario likely to remain comfortable
  • Make or buy decision
  • Supply of natural gas for power projects
  • Algae biofuel
  • Offshore wind power
  • Why Rangarajan panel recommendation can not be accepted?
  • Additional subsidy burden
  • Decline in profitability of urea units
  • Steep rise in power cost
  • Doubtful increase in gas production
  • Economic feasibility for urea and power projects in future
  • Hold on to present arrangement
  • Likely scenario in the case of rejecting Rangarajan panel recommendation
General details Appearance Highly refractive liquid Odour Alcohol like CAS Number 71-36-3 Synonyms n-butylalcohol, n-butanol Molecular formula CH3(CH2)3OH Solubility Butanol is soluble in alcohol, ether and in all organic solvents. Stability The product is stable under temperature and pressure Storage and handling Butanol should be stored in a cool well ventilated area away from sources of ignition, oxidising materials and food stuffs and explosives and in compliance with the highly flammable liquids and LPG regulations. Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Product specification
  • Product application
  • Indian producer
  • Installed capacity and production
  • Indian import and export details for n-butanol
  • Manufacturing process
  • Global manufacturers
  • New projects
  • Upcoming projects in China
  • Global demand trend
  • Global demand
  • Prognosis
General details Silicic acid esters are a group of functional silanes. The most important silicic acid ester is tetra ethoxysilane (TEOS). Appearance Transparent liquid Colour Colourless Synonyms Tetraethyl orthosilicate, Silicic acid tetra ethylesters, TEOS CAS No. 78-10-4 Chemical formula C8H20O4Si Boiling Point 168 degree C [760mmHg] Density [25degree C] 0.934 Refractive Index [25 degree C] 1.3838 [25 degree C] Flash Point 46 degree C Solubility The product is soluble in most common organic solvents and it reacts with water. Packaging The product is packed in 190 Kg steel drum or 900KG IBC container Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Producer’s specification
  • Product application
  • Process outline
  • Global producers
  • Global demand trend
  • Indian scenario
  • Sample of Individual Imports
Scenario in South Korea South Korea’s p -xylene capacity began to increase in 2013, when HC Petrochem started up an 800,000 metric tonne per year p -xylene plant at Daesan. This year, Samsung-Total, SK Global Chemical, and SK JX Nippon will start up plants totaling 3.3 million metric tonne per year . In 2015, GSC Taiyo will bring a one million metric tonne per year plant online in Yeosu. Together, these projects will almost double South Korea’s p -xylene capacity from 5.3 million metric tonne per year in 2012 to 10.5 million metric tonne per year in 2016. The South Korean projects have encountered a few hurdles. Following details are discussed in this article
  • Other projects facing issues
  • p-xylene projects in South Korea
  • Other planned facilities in Asia
  • Proposed projects in Saudi Arabia
The world nickel market has been characterised by oversupply for a protracted period of time. But,there are indications that the market could be turning; 2014 will likely witness tightening of supplies,with moderating production and rising consumption. With production projected to trail consumption in 2015, the market is likely to get into deficit for the first time in many years. Although around the world, output at new mines has been rising, expansion of Chinese nickel pig iron (NPI) output has been the main driver of nickel supply. Huge investment in new low-cost rotary kiln electric furnaces in China has fundamentally altered the nickel cost curve, driving prices below the point at which many existing nickel producers break even. The rest of the global nickel industry, now caught up in the long-term investments made in the wake of the 2007 price boom, is struggling to compete with the new reality of low cost nickel pig iron (NPI) output. Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Correlation between steel and nickel
  • Excess supply
  • Demand trend
  • Indian scenario
  • Price outlook
The world zinc market is interestingly poised. The key theme is that at a time when mine output may go negative (after steady mine closures in recent years leading to gradually tightening supplies), demand seems to be showing signs of significant recovery, especially in BRIC economies. The positive correlation between galvanised steel production and zinc consumption is well known. It was in year 2012 that the zinc market faced exceptionally low treatment charges (TC) which combined with low zinc prices to depress zinc smelter output. However, from last year, a rise in treatment charges has encouraged smelters back to convert surplus concentrate into metal. Galvanised production in key regions has been strong, especially in China. Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Growing deficit
  • Production forecast for zinc
What is cell therapy? Cell therapy refers to treatments that are founded on the concept of producing new cells to replace malfunctioning or damaged cells as a vehicle to treat disease and injury. Stem cells are set to be a major branch of medical treatment,. Regenerative medicine or cell therapy, is a rapidly emerging area of biomedical research and would be an ideal supplement for existing medical treatments. The enormous potential of stem cells in the treatment of chronic and several incurable diseases is boosting the overall stem cells therapy market. Following details are discussed in this article
  • Global market
  • Indian scenario
  • Cipla’s efforts
Following pharmaceutical informations are discussed in this article
  • New class of drug to curb antibiotic resistance
  • New target to control diabetes
PLANT CLOSURES The following articles discuss about the closure of plants
  • FSI halts aspartic acid
  • SunEdison polysilicon plant in Italy closed
  • Styrolution to shut PS unit in USA
ANTI DUMPING PAGE The antidumping measures introduced in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed
  • Polysilicon
  • Sodium nitrite
  • Perchlorethylene
  • Fatty alcohols
SAFETY & ACCIDENT PAGE The following articles discussing about the accidents occurred at various places
  • Chemical spill
  • Fire on vessel carrying equipment
NEWS ROUND UP - INTERNATIONAL The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed
  • Carbon fiber prepreg
  • Soda ash
  • Choline chloride
  • Investment by US chemical industry related to shale gas
  • Pectins
  • Bioplastics maker Cereplast files for bankruptcy
  • Proposed NGL projects of Phillips 66
  • PP wax emulsions
  • TaC coatings
  • Biobased nylon unit
  • Speciality amines (DMAPA & PEA)
  • XPS plants
  • Carboxylic acids
COAL CHEMICAL SCENARIO IN CHINA The construction of new coal chemical projects such as coal to olefin (CTO), coal to gas (CTG), coal to liquid (CTL) and coal to aromatic (CTA) projects are in full swing in China. The first CTG project and the first CTA project in China were both completed in 2013. Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Methanol
  • Acetic acid
  • Coal to olefin projects
  • Research into coal to aromatics (CTA) & methanol to aromatics (MTA) technologies
CHINA NEWS ACRYLIC ACID VENTURE OF ARKEMA Arkema manufactures acrylic acid at Carling, France and Clear Lake, TX,USA. The company is also a partner in a 50-50 acrylics production jv at Bayport, TX, with Nippon Shokubai. Arkema will form a joint venture, named Sunke, with Jurong Chemical (Yancheng, China), the leading player in acrylic acid in China. Arkema will have a majority stake in the jv, which will comprise the assets of Jurong Chemical’s acrylic acid production site at Taixing, China, which opened in 2012. Jurong Chemical is the world’s fifth largest producer of acrylic acid and is a subsidiary of Sunvic Chemical. The above subject is further discussed in this article. The recent developments on the following products are discussed
  • Methyl bromide
  • Isononanol
  • Isopropanolamine
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS NEW SYNTHETIC RUBBER GRADES – JOINT EFFORS OF LANXESS AND HANKOOK TIRE German speciality chemicals company Lanxess,and South Korea’s Hankook Tire have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to co develop synthetic rubber technologies for high performance tyres. Under the agreement, the two companies will jointly study the development of new high performance synthetic rubber grades and applications that increase the performance of tyres from early stages of product development. Lanxess and Hankook Tire have maintained a close partnership since 2008, when Hankook Tire awarded Lanxess a long-term contract to supply solution styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) and neodymium performance butadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) – both core materials for high-performance tyres. The above subject is further discussed in this article. The recent technology developments on the following products are discussed
  • Catofin technology for olefin product
  • Oxygen fuel solution for recycling of non ferrous metals
NEWS ROUND UP – INDIA TREND IN INDIAN SUGAR INDUSTRY Indian sugar industry basically produces white sugar, which gets consumed domestically. Any surplus, which comes up once in a while, is exported. The above subject is further discussed in this article. The recent developments on following product is discussed.
  • Urea scenario
AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE The recent developments on the following agro products are updated
  • New fungicide Jianda in China
  • Tricyclazole - US to ease fungicide norms for basmati
  • DuPont’s biotech seed - 1507
  • New technology to turn pineapple into powder
PHARMA PAGE GENERIC DRUG FIRMS IN OFF PATENT MARKET With $32 billion worth of drugs going off patent in the next two years, Indian pharma companies are going all out to launch generics in the US market. While the generics opportunity may not seem very large in the near term, the total sales of these drugs by innovators was $29 billion in 2013. Eight of these are medicines that generate more than $1 billion in sales. 18 are specialty drugs under patent related litigation in US courts, which are commanding relatively high margins and generating double the return on investment compared with traditional therapies.These drugs target complex health conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Generic drug litigation
  • Land mark judgement on Protonix
  • Important generic legal challenges under hatch Waxman act
ENERGY PAGE GLOBAL ETHANOL PRICE SCENARIO Ethanol is one of the three commodities whose prices have surged sharply in recent time. With prices rising 8.31 per cent recently, ethanol has gained 58.41 per cent. Overall, ethanol prices have gone up nearly 34 per cent in the last 12 months Any rise in corn prices has its impact on price of ethanol. Part of the current surge in ethanol prices can be attributed to rise in corn rates. Corn has been gaining on higher demand for the US produce and fears that shipments from Ukraine, a major source in the export market, could be affected. Concerns over the crop in Brazil and Argentina due to indifferent weather have also aided the price increase to nearly $5 bushel recently. Corn for delivery in May on CBOT rule at $4.89 a bushel. Ethanol contracts for delivery in April on CBOT are up at $2.30 a gallon (Rs.37/litre). Spot prices for ethanol are hovering around $2.40 (Rs.37.75 a litre). Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Ethanol scenario in Brazil
  • Futuristic trend
WASTE HEAT RECOVERY SYSTEM DEVELOPED BY ACC The industry with a cement production capacity of 350 million metric tonne per annum is capable of producing about 1,000 MW through waste heat recovery,. The industry has to invest Rs.12,000 crore to set up 1000 MW heat recovery plants. It would be viable, if the Government fixes a competitive price for the surplus power. After commissioning its first waste heat recovery plant at Gagal in Himachal Pradesh, ACC plans to replicate the success at its cement plants in Wadi (Karnataka), Jamul (Chhattisgarh), Kymore (Madhya Pradesh) and Chanda (Maharashtra) with an investment of about Rs.360 crore. Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Facility at Gagal
  • Wadi unit
QUALITY OF DOMESTIC SOLAR CELLS India made solar cells are of poor quality, less efficient and more expensive than imported cells, solar power project developers have said in a letter to the government. The solar power project developers have said that although cell manufacturers claim that they have the capacity to produce more than 800 MW of cells, in reality only about 150 MW is available as many units are shut either due to financial constraints or because of outdated equipment. Above subject is further discussed in this article. INDIA’S ENERGY CONSUMPTION TREND India's energy consumption rose at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.96% since 2005-06, beating the GDP growth of 8.6% and raising imports of fuels like oil and coal as domestic output growth remained sluggish. Following details are discussed in this article.
  • Usage norm
  • Electricity consumption
Recent developments in the following energy informations are discussed in this article
  • Propellers that cut fuel use by fishing boats
  • Natural gas to outpace all energy sources until 2035
  • Ex factory price of chemicals in China in February 2014
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals imported at Chennai port during the month of January 2014
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