Volume 86 Issue 12 | p. 17 | Concentrates
Issue Date: March 24, 2008

Business Roundup

Department: Business

Siam Cement of Thailand is advancing plans with Vietnam Oil & Gas to build a $4 billion petrochemical complex on Vietnam's Long Son Island. The complex would produce ethylene, polyolefins, chlorine, and polyvinyl chloride and would start up in phases from 2011 to 2013.

Dow Chemical will end ethylene glycol production at its site in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, by the end of this year to focus on ethylene oxide. The company plans to expand its purified ethylene oxide plant by 22% for derivatives such as polyether polyols. Dow expects a coming surplus of ethylene glycol capacity from Asia and the Middle East.

Agrium will shutter its Kenai, Alaska, fertilizer plant. The Canadian company had considered converting the plant from natural gas feedstock to a coal gasification route, but it now says the process would not be economical. The company is still considering gasification at its other plants.

W.R. Grace has invested in Ceratech, a Columbia, Md., producer of environmentally friendly concrete admixtures—ingredients that add strength and regulate setting time—based on fly ash. Grace will have exclusive rights to market Ceratech products to the manufactured concrete industry.

Eastman Chemical will increase capacity for its new Tritan copolyesters in Kingsport, Tenn., by late 2009. The company says the products have high clarity and chemical resistance like other copolyesters while offering improved heat resistance and design flexibility. They are used in Vita-Mix blenders and bisphenol A-free CamelBak water bottles.

Asahi Kasei and PTT are advancing previously announced plans to build plants for acryonitrile and methyl methacrylate in Thailand. Acrylonitrile will be manufactured by a new process that starts with propane rather than propylene. The project will cost some $750 million and will be completed in 2010, the companies say.

Dow Chemical plans to increase glutaraldehyde capacity by 60% at its Institute, W.Va., site by January 2009. The biocide is used to inhibit microbial growth in oil-field chemicals, pulp and paper processing, and industrial cooling water. Dow says it will execute the expansion cheaply and quickly by using breakthrough process technology.

Spartech is launching a restructuring effort in which it will cut 10% of its workforce, about 350 positions, and close its plastic sheet facility in Mankato, Minn. CEO Myles Odaniell, who joined the firm from Chemtura early this year, says the moves will "better position Spartech for the long term."

AstraZeneca and Silence Therapeutics will collaborate on new methods for delivering short interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) molecules using Silence's AtuPLEX technology. The deal complements an earlier agreement between the two firms to develop siRNA drugs.

 
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