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Plant Watch

Ineos to build world-scale linear alpha-olefins unit in Texas

May 17, 2016 — Ineos (Rolle, Switzerland; has announced that Ineos Oligomers has made a final investment decision build a new world-scale linear alpha-olefin (LAO) unit at Chocolate Bayou, Tex. Its capacity of 420,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) is 20% larger than when the project was originally announced. When it comes onstream in November 2018, Ineos Oligomers will have a global LAO capacity of around 1 million m.t./yr.


Shandong Luqing Petrochemical commissions China’s first C4 Oleflex unit

May 17, 2016 — Honeywell UOP (Des Plaines, Ill.; says that Shandong Luqing Petrochemical Co. has accepted the performance of China’s first standalone Honeywell UOP C4 Oleflex process unit, which produces 170,000 m.t./yr of isobutylene. Located in Shandong province, the plant will support China’s growing demand for fuel and petrochemicals. The C4 Oleflex process uses catalytic dehydrogenation to convert isobutane to isobutylene.


AkzoNobel expands performance coatings plant in Indonesia by 40%

May 17, 2016 — Akzo Nobel N.V. (Amsterdam, the Netherlands; has completed phase one of the €2.5-million expansion of its performance coatings plant in Cikarang, Indonesia. The investment will increase capacity at the facility by 40%. AkzoNobel has been in Indonesia since 1971 and is now the country’s largest paints and coatings producer.


Huntsman begins production at new pigments plant in Georgia

May 17, 2016 — Huntsman Corp. (The Woodlands, Tex.; announced the startup of operations at its brand-new color pigments facility in Augusta, Ga. Huntsman has invested more than $172 million in the plant — the first of its kind to be built in North America for more than 35 years. It has a capacity of 30,000 m.t./yr of yellow, red and black iron-oxide pigments.


Jacobs awarded engineering contract at Saudi Aramco refinery

May 17, 2016 — Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.; has received a two-year contract from Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co. (SATORP) to provide general engineering services at SATORP’s Jubail Industrial City II facilities in Saudi Arabia. Jacobs will provide a range of feasibility studies, conceptual designs and detailed engineering designs for a portfolio of minor capital projects.


Chemours starts up 200,000-m.t./yr titanium dioxide plant in Mexico

May 17, 2016 — The Chemours Co. (Wilmington, Del.; has begun the commercial startup of a new titanium dioxide (TiO2) line at its Altamira plant in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The new line, which uses the Chemours chloride process, is expected to take several years to reach its nameplate capacity of 200,000 m.t./yr.


Asahi Glass to expand capacity for vinyl chloride monomer in Indonesia

May 13, 2016 — Asahi Glass Co. (AGC; Tokyo; will further increase production capacity for vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) at P.T. Asahimas Chemical (ASC), one of its consolidated subsidiaries in Indonesia. ASC has just doubled its VCM capacity to 800,000 m.t./yr, and now a debottlenecking operation will further increase this to 900,000 m.t./yr by 2018.


GreenMantra starts production of waxes based on recycled-plastic feedstocks

May 11, 2016 — GreenMantra Technologies (Brantford, Ont., Canada;, a producer of high-value waxes and specialty chemicals from recycled plastic feedstocks, has completed construction of its first commercial-scale (5,000 m.t./yr) manufacturing plant. GreenMantra uses a patented catalytic process to transform hard-to-recycle polyolefin plastics, such as grocery bags, shrink wrap and bottle caps, into waxes, greases, lubricants and other specialty chemicals.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Resin manufacturers Polynt Group and Reichhold Group to merge

May 18, 2016 — A planned merger between Polynt Group (Bergamo, Italy; and Reichhold Group (Durham, N.C.; will create a global, vertically integrated manufacturer of resins for composites and coatings, and of other specialized chemicals, including intermediates, plasticizers, additives and compounds. Subject to regulatory approval, the merger is expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.


Total buys battery manufacturer Saft to boost its renewable-energy business

May 16, 2016 — Oil and gas major Total S.A. (Paris, France; plans to acquire industrial battery manufacturer Saft S.A. (Paris, Fance; “The combination of Saft and Total will enable Saft to become the Group’s spearhead in electricity storage”, says Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total.


Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions gains new business structure

May 13, 2016 — Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, the engineering and construction arm of the Thyssenkrupp Group (Essen, Germany;, is modernizing its management structure to focus on customers and business fields, and speed the integration of the previously separate engineering companies Uhde, Polysius and Fördertechnik. Jens Michael Wegmann, CEO of Industrial Solutions since October 2015, says: “We are operating in a difficult environment, and we want to make our organization faster, more flexible and more efficient.”


Honeywell to spin off its resins and chemicals business

May 12, 2016 — Honeywell (Morristown, N.J.; plans to spin off its resins and chemicals business into a standalone, publicly traded company named AdvanSix Inc. This part of the business manufactures Nylon 6, ammonium sulfate, and chemical intermediates, including phenol, acetone, cyclohexanone and caprolactam, with a turnover of $1.3 billion. Completion is expected by early 2017.


Solvay sells Latin American PVC business to Unipar Carbocloro

May 10, 2016 — Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; is selling its 71% stake in Solvay Indupa (Buenos Aires, Argentina; to Brazilian chemical group Unipar Carbocloro. Indupa makes PVC, sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite, and is valued at $202.2 million.


Rennovia and Stora Enso join forces on bio-based processes

May 10, 2016 — Renewable materials company Stora Enso Oyj (Helsinki, Finland; and specialty chemicals company Rennovia, Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.; have announced a joint development and license agreement to cooperate on developing bio-based chemicals. Rennovia uses high-throughput techniques to develop catalysts for the production of chemicals from renewable feedstocks.


GE Power to acquire HRSG business from Doosan

May 10, 2016 — GE Power (Schenectady, N.Y.; has agreed to buy the heat-recovery steam-generator (HRSG) business of Korea’s Doosan Engineering & Construction for $250 million. Last November, GE Power completed the acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid businesses. Demand for combined-cycle power plants, which use HRSGs, is currently very high, the company says.


Biotech company Aemetis buys cellulosic ethanol specialist

May 6, 2016 — Biotechnology company Aemetis, Inc. (Cupertino, Calif.; has acquired Edeniq (Visalia, Calif.;, which develops technology to make ethanol from cellulose. Edeniq has 29 of its Cellunator mechanical systems in U.S. ethanol plants, and has signed several license agreements for its enzyme-assisted technology.n