September's top stories: Formosa $9.4bn project, €2.75bn synthetic rubber pact

German chemical group Lanxess has partnered with Saudi Aramco to create a €2.75bn synthetic rubber joint-venture. Taiwan-based Formosa Petrochemical is planning to build a $9.4bn petrochemical complex in St James Parish, in the US state of Louisiana. EuroChem agrochemical company subsidiary Phosphorit has started construction of a new $1bn ammonia complex in Kingisepp, Russia.


Lanxess partners with Saudi Aramco for €2.75bn synthetic rubber venture

German chemical group Lanxess partnered with Saudi Aramco to create a €2.75bn synthetic rubber joint-venture.

Under the deal, Aramco Overseas Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian oil company Saudi Aramco, will pay around €1.2b in cash for a 50% stake in the joint-venture.

Lanxess is partnering with Saudi Aramco to get better access to raw materials, while the Saudi Arabia owned company is looking to diversify into higher value chemical products.

Taiwan's Formosa plans to build $9.4bn petrochemical complex in Louisiana, US

Taiwan-based Formosa Petrochemical is planning to build a $9.4bn petrochemical complex in St James Parish, in the US state of Louisiana.

Planned to be built in two phases on the west bank of the Mississippi River, the complex will feature an ethane cracker and downstream plants to convert ethane to ethylene, and then to produce polyethylene.

The facility will produce low and high-density polyethylene, ethylene glycol, polypropylene, and other derivatives.

Following completion of two phases of the project, the complex will become one of the largest-of-its-kind ethylene production sites worldwide.

Formosa is studying the feasibility of the project, and is expected to make a final investment decision by mid-2016.

EuroChem starts work on $1bn ammonia complex in Russia

EuroChem agrochemical company subsidiary Phosphorit started construction of a new $1bn ammonia complex in Kingisepp, Russia.

The complex will feature utilities and offsites such as a warehouse for liquid ammonia, and will have a capacity of one million tonnes per annum. It will incorporate advanced technology for ammonia production in compliance with safety measures.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) activities are expected to be completed within three years.

Roquette and partners develop new isosorbide and biosuccinic acid in BioHub programme


French starch manufacturer Roquette, along with various partners, successfully concluded the BioHub programme, which led to the development of POLYSORB isosorbide.

This new solution will boost properties of polymers, increasing capability in terms of heat resistance transparency and UV resistance.

The programme has been running since 2006, with the support of Bpifrance and highlighted the industrial and commercial successes of Roquette, known to be the fifth largest starch manufacturer in the world.

Total awards FEED contract to CB&I for $2bn ethylene cracker project in Port Arthur, US


French energy group Total started front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the construction of a $2bn steam cracker project at its Port Arthur facility in Texas, US.

The plant will have the capacity to produce one million tonnes of ethylene a year.

For the project, Total awarded a contract to Woodlands-based CB&I to provide its ethylene technology and front-end engineering and design (FEED) services for the proposed new ethane cracker.

Under the deal, CB&I will also provide seven SRT cracking heaters for the second integrated steam cracker to be built at its Port Arthur complex.

Henkel and DropWise collaborate on hydrophobic coating applications


Henkel Adhesive Technologies signed a joint-development agreement with US-based DropWise Technologies to strengthen its presence in the surface treatment sector.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-headquartered DropWise has technology and lab-scale manufacturing expertise for advanced hydrophobic coating applications.

The collaboration with the US-based start-up will expand Henkel's position in the global surface treatment market with new applications.







University of California chemists develop material to convert carbon into chemicals

Chemists at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new material that can capture and convert carbon into useful chemicals.

Named covalent organic frameworks (COFs), the sponge-like materials are said to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2).

The three-dimensional crystal comprises a tightly folded, compact framework with a large internal surface area.

As part of the study, the team used a cobalt metal catalyst with a crystal structure to convert the CO2 into carbon monoxide, which is used as a key compound in the production of various chemical products.

Solvay commissions sodium bicarbonate plant in Thailand

Belgian chemical firm Solvay commenced operations at its sodium bicarbonate facility in Thailand.

Said to be the largest-of-its-kind in south-east Asia, the plant is located on Solvay's existing site in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Rayong province.

Built with an investment of €20m, the plant is designed to produce 100,000t of chemical compound, and will serve the healthcare, food and other consumer markets in Asia.

Yara to sell European CO2 business to Praxair


Yara International signed a deal to sell its European CO2 business to Praxair for €218m.

The transaction also includes Yara's remaining 34% stake in the Yara Praxair Holding industrial gas joint-venture in Scandinavia for around €94m.

Under the deal, Yara will supply Praxair with raw CO2 gas and continue to operate three CO2 liquefaction units that are located within its fertiliser plants.

BASF increases tertiary Butylamine production in China

BASF increased production of tertiary Butylamine (tBA) at its manufacturing plant at Nanjing Chemical Industry Park in China.

The project has increased annual production capacity at the facility by 60% to 16,000t from the earlier capacity of 10,000t.

With this additional capacity, BASF will be able to meet the increasing demand for tire additives in China and Asia Pacific.