October's top stories: Grangemouth jobs saved, Nobel Prize winners

Ineos said the Grangemouth petrochemical facility will stay open, saving hundreds of jobs, AkzoNobel will restructure its decorative paints business and Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Chemicals-technology.com wraps up key headlines from October 2013.


Ineos Grangemouth petrochemical facility to stay open


Ineos announced that the Grangemouth petrochemical facility in the UK will stay open after the union agreed to the company's terms, saving hundreds of jobs.

The Swiss chemical company said Unite had agreed to a three-year pay freeze, no strikes for three years, moving to a "modern" pension scheme and changes to union agreements on the site, including no full-time union conveners.

Ineos Grangemouth's chairman Calum MacLean said the petrochemicals plant will remain open following a meeting with shareholders.

BASF unveils restructuring plan for pigments business

German chemical company BASF has announced a series of measures to improve its pigment's competitiveness in its Performance Products segment.

BASF will improve customer focus and design differentiated products in high-value applications, as well as optimise the global production network as part of its long-term pigment strategy.

The company is planning to invest €250m in the next four years in its production network, as well as in research and development, while cutting approximately 650 positions globally by 2017.

DuPont to spin off performance chemicals segment


US chemical firm DuPont will separate its $7bn performance chemicals segment through a tax-free spin-off to shareholders, following authorisation from the board of directors.

The segment includes the titanium technologies, chemicals and fluoroproducts businesses.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is anticipated to be completed within about 18 months.

DuPont's Performance Chemicals segment will operate as an independent, publicly traded company after the separation.

AkzoNobel plans to restructure decorative paints business

Dutch paint maker AkzoNobel is planning to restructure its decorative paints business, to speed up growth in Europe and high growth markets.

As part of restructuring, the company plans to reduce the number of senior management teams and introduce a new operating model for the decorative paints business.

The company also plans to introduce a new top level Deco structure, divided into five regions instead of the current eight regions.

Karplus, Levit, Warshel receive Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2013


The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has conferred Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2013, for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.

Martin Karplus is from Université de Strasbourg of France and Harvard University of US, while Michael Levitt is from Stanford University School of Medicine of US and Arieh Warshel represents the University of Southern California of US.

The scientists have managed to make Newton's classical physics work side-by-side with fundamentally different quantum physics.

Solvay plans to construct new Thai sodium bicarbonate facility

Belgium-based chemicals group Solvay is planning to build what it claims will be south-east Asia's largest sodium bicarbonate facility in Rayong province, Thailand.

The facility will have a manufacturing capacity of 100,000t per year and will help the company meet the increasing demand for high-quality products from the region's dynamic healthcare and food markets.

Located on Solvay's existing site in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, the new plant will use Solvay's new generation BICAR production technology.

Belgian firm Solvay to buy Chemlogics for $1.34bn


Solvay has agreed to acquire privately-held Chemlogics for $1.34bn to expand its offering of chemical solutions for the oil and gas industry.

Headquartered in Paso Robles, California, in the US, Chemlogics was established in 2002 to serve the needs of the oil and gas industry's stimulation and cementing segments.

The company, which employs about 277 people, reported sales of around $500m in the past year.

Chevron Phillips Chemical to construct USGC petrochemicals project

Chevron Phillips Chemical has secured approval to construct a US Gulf Coast (USGC) petrochemicals project.

The project includes the building of an ethane cracker at Chevron's Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, and two polyethylene units at a site in Old Ocean, near the company's Sweeny plant.

Energy link