August's top stories: Obama signs chemicals decree, Sudarshan patent case win

The US President has signed an executive order to improve safety and security of chemical plants, while the Court of Appeal in London, UK, has ruled in favour of India-based Sudarshan in a patent infringement case against Clariant Produkte.

Barack Obama

US President signs decree to improve plant safety and security

US President has signed an executive order

The US President has signed an executive order to improve the safety and security of chemical plants and minimise the risks of harmful chemicals for workers and communities.

Barack Obama said chemicals and plants that produce, store, distribute and use them are essential to the country's economy.

"However, incidents such as the devastating explosion at a fertiliser plant in West, Texas, in April are tragic reminders that the handling and storage of chemicals present serious risks that must be addressed," Obama added.

DuPont opens Indian application development centre

DuPont has launched a new application development centre

US-based science and engineering company DuPont has launched a new application development centre at the DuPont Knowledge Center (DKC) in Hyderabad, India, expanding its integrated science capabilities.

The new centre will focus on integrating advanced material science with other scientific disciplines for the automotive industry, while enabling solutions for lightweighting, engine performance, comfort and safety.

DuPont South Asia & ASEAN president Rajeev Vaidya said the new facility is part of the global DuPont community of 10,000 scientists and engineers, thus connecting the company's global science capability to local market needs.

India's Sudarshan wins patent infringement case against Clariant

Court of Appeal in London, UK

The Court of Appeal in London, UK, ruled in favour of the performance colourants and effect pigments producer Sudarshan in a patent infringement case, filed by Germany-based Clariant Produkte.

Upholding an earlier judgment of the High Court of Justice in favour of Sudarshan, the verdict has also awarded costs and damages for wrongful threats to the India-based company.

In June 2012, the High Court of Justice said that Sudarshan's product, Sudafast Yellow 132(PY191), did not infringe on Clariant's patent and ordered an inquiry into damages, apart from awarding the costs of the action.

BHP Billiton to invest $2.6bn in Canadian potash project

The Anglo-Australian mining and petroleum company BHP Billiton will invest $2.6bn across a number of years in the Jansen Potash project in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, taking total spend on the project to approximately $3.8bn.

The company will use the investment to complete the excavation and lining of the Jansen Potash project production and service shafts and continue the installation of important surface infrastructure and utilities.

The two mining shafts are expected to be completed in 2016 and the associated works programme will spread into 2017.

ISK Singapore's titanium dioxide production plant to close

Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha (ISK) will close the titanium dioxide production plant of its ISK Singapore subsidiary, as a part of the company's inorganic business portfolio reformation.

Titanium dioxide product production will be consolidated into its existing plant in Yokkaichi, Japan.

The ISK Singapore business has been challenging due to a strong local currency, the greater cost infrastructure and the scale of the plant.

Braskem Idesa receives $1.5bn for Mexican petrochemical complex

Braskem Idesa, a joint venture between the Brazilian Braskem and Mexican Group Idesa, has received the first tranche of approximately $1.5bn in financing, as part of $3.2bn project funding.

The company will use the finance for a joint venture petrochemical project being constructed in Mexico.

The integrated petrochemical complex will manufacture 1.05mt per year of polyethylene, and an equal volume of ethylene raw material in the region of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

BASF to invest in Chinese resin and e-coat facility

BASF, a provider of chemical supplies to the automotive industry, will invest around €90m to set up a new resin production plant at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in China.

The close proximity of these two plants will allow for greater synergy and efficiency, according to the company.

The new plant will produce high performance resins and electrocoat (e-coat) and the production start-up is planned for the second half of 2015.

Coatings Solutions Asia Pacific senior vice president Peter Fischer said the investment will support customers' growing businesses in the automotive market in Asia Pacific, particularly in China.

ADM, CIC and Chemanex partner for BioSAP production

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has established a joint venture (JV) company, with CIC Holdings and Chemanex, for production of bio-based superabsorbent polymers (BioSAP) in Sri Lanka.

Chemcel, the JV company, will construct and operate a processing facility near Colombo, Sri Lanka, for the manufacture of BioSAP products, which are commonly used in food packaging, personal-care products and various industrial applications.

The BioSAP will be derived from starches obtained from agricultural feedstock, unlike superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) that are conventionally produced from petroleum derivatives.

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