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Dow announces startup of PDH unit; and more business news for the CPI

| By Mary Page Bailey

Plant Watch

ICA Fluor to build $1-billion petroleum-refining facility in Mexico

January 11, 2016 — ICA Fluor, Fluor Corp.’s (Irving, Tex.; joint venture (JV) with Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V. (, was authorized by Pemex to proceed with the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the Madero Clean Diesel project at the Madero Refinery in Tamaulipas, Mexico. The project, scheduled for completion in 2018, includes two 25,000-bbl/d diesel hydrodesulfurization trains and associated facilities, as well as new hydrogen, sulfur-recovery and sour-water- treatment plants.


Technip awarded contract by Air Products for Baytown hydrogen plant

January 8, 2016 — Technip (Paris, France; was awarded a contract by Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.; to provide technology, engineering and procurement services for a grassroots hydrogen plant in Baytown, Tex. The plant will produce 3.5 million m3/d of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The project is scheduled to come online in 2018.


PPG to increase precipitated silica production capacity at Lake Charles plant

January 7, 2016 — PPG Industries, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.; is increasing precipitated silica production capacity at its Lake Charles, La., manufacturing plant by more than 10,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr). PPG plans to achieve the capacity increase through debottlenecking projects that are expected to come online in the second half of 2016.


Lanxess starts up expanded plastics-compounding line in North Carolina

January 7, 2016 — Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; has started up a second production line for high-performance plastics compounding at its facility in Gastonia, N.C. The new line represents an investment of about $15 million and doubles the site’s production capacity from 20,000 to 40,000 m.t./yr. In the plant, the basic polymers polyamide and polybutylene terephthalate are mixed and refined with special additives and glass fiber.


CB&I awarded contract for polypropylene unit in Heibei, China

January 6, 2016 — CB&I (The Woodlands, Tex.; was awarded a contract by Hebei Haiwei Group for a polypropylene unit to be built in Jingxian, Hebei Province, China. The unit will use CB&I’s Novolen technology to produce 200,000 m.t./yr of polypropylene.

Air Liquide enters Colombian industrial-gas market with construction of new plant

January 6, 2016 — Air Liquide (Paris, France; will build and operate a new facility consisting of a carbon dioxide production unit and a cogeneration unit. In addition, the site will supply nitrogen, electricity, refrigerated water, compressed air and steam. With an investment of around €40 million, the Tocancipá-based facility is expected to start up in late 2016.


Showa Denko expands production of high-purity ammonia in Taiwan

December 28, 2015 — Showa Denko K.K. (SDK; Tokyo, Japan; has expanded its capacity to supply high-purity ammonia, which is widely used in production processes for electronic materials, by stepping up the production capacity of a plant owned by its manufacturing subsidiary in Taiwan from 2,500 to 3,500 m.t./yr.


Dow announces startup of commercial operations for PDH unit in Texas

December 21, 2015 — The Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.; announced that its new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit located at the company’s Oyster Creek site in Freeport, Tex., has begun commercial operations. Capacity for the new propylene production facility is 750,000 m.t./yr, making it the largest on-demand propylene facility of its kind, according to Dow.


Shell-CNOOC JV to expand ethylene and derivative units at Nanhai complex

December 16, 2015 — Shell Chemical LP (Houston; announced that Shell Nanhai B.V. and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) have signed an agreement to expand their existing 50-50 JV in Huizhou, China. The expansion includes the construction of an ethylene cracker and ethylene derivatives units, including a styrene monomer and propylene oxide plant. The new cracker will increase Nanhai’s ethylene production capacity by over 1 million m.t./yr, about double its current capacity.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Solvay’s phosphorus-based water additives business acquired by Italmatch

January 12, 2016 — Solvay SA (Brussels, Belgium; has entered into an agreement under which its business unit consisting of desalination and water additives based on phosphonates and phosphonic acid will be acquired by Italmatch Chemicals Group. In particular, the agreement covers the acquisition of all products, trademarks, patents and client portfolio from Solvay.

BP to sell petrochemicals plant in Alabama to Indorama

January 6, 2016 — BP plc (London; has agreed to sell its petrochemical complex in Decatur, Ala., to Indorama Ventures Public Co. (Bangkok, Thailand; The parties anticipate that the deal will close in early 2016. The facility can produce purified terephthalic acid (PTA), para -xylene and naphthalene dicarboxylate.

Albemarle finalizes sale of its metal sulfides business

January 5, 2016 — Albemarle Corp. (Baton Rouge, La.; has completed the sale of its Tribotecc metal sulfides business to Treibacher Industrie AG. The transaction includes sites in Vienna and Arnoldstein, Austria, and Tribotecc’s proprietary sulfide synthesis process. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Dyadic closes sale of Industrial Technology business to DuPont

January 4, 2016 — Dyadic International, Inc. (Jupiter, Fla.; closed the sale of its Industrial Technology business to DuPont (Wilmington, Del.; for $75 million in cash. The acquired business will be integrated into DuPont’s Industrial Biosciences division.


Saint-Gobain acquires specialty-tubing company in Brazil

January 4, 2016 — Saint-Gobain (Courbevoie, France; has acquired SG Plasticos, a producer of specialty extruded tubing located in São Paulo, Brazil. SG Plasticos provides differentiated and customized solutions related to fluid transfers in many markets.


Celanese forms JV for cellulose-based specialty products

December 22, 2015 — Celanese Corp. (Irving, Tex.; has entered into a memorandum of understanding with China-based Push Group Co. to form a new JV focused on the production of cellulose-acetate-based specialty products, including plastics and films. The execution of the agreement is expected to occur before the end of March 2016.


Huber to purchase two business units from Albemarle

December 17, 2015 — Albemarle Corp. has signed an agreement to sell its Mineral Flame Retardants and Specialty Chemicals businesses to Huber Engineered Materials (Atlanta, Ga.; The transaction includes Albemarle’s Martinswerk GmbH subsidiary located in Bergheim, Germany and Albemarle’s 50% stake in Magnifin Magnesiaprodukte GmbH, a JV with RHI AG at Breitenau, Austria.


Sinopec acquires minority stake in Sibur

December 17, 2015 — Sibur (Moscow; and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) announced the successful completion of Sinopec’s 10% minority investment in Sibur as a strategic investor. The investment will lead to the sharing of joint expertise and resources, and Sinopec will have the right to nominate a representative to Sibur’s Board of Directors. ■

Mary Page Bailey