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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, Feb 2013

CLOMAZONE |TRIMETHYLOLPROPANE|ZINC SCENARIO|ALGAE BIO FUEL
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH : EMERGING NATIONAL CONSENSUS ON NATURAL GAS BUT GOVERNMENT POLICIES SEND CONFUSING SIGNALS
PRODUCT PROFILE - CLOMAZONE ( HERBICIDE)
PRODUCT PROFILE - TRIMETHYLOLPROPANE
TRAVAILS OF PUBLIC SECTOR VACCINE UNITS
PERFORMANCE OF COAL INDIA
GLOBAL & INDIAN ZINC SCENARIO
TECHNOLOGY TO CUT FERTILIZER IMPORTS
FOCUS ON ALGAE / ALGAE BIO FUELS
GAS-BASED PUMPING UNITS TO CUT PRODUCTION COST
PROSPECTS FOR SSBR MARKET - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
LOW TEMPERATURE DISTILLATION FOR SEAWATER DESALINATION
OTHER FEATURES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

EMERGING NATIONAL CONSENSUS ON NATURAL GAS

BUT GOVERNMENT POLICIES SEND CONFUSING SIGNALS

Production of coal and crude oil remains virtually stagnant in the country and the scenario is unlikely to change in near future. Production of natural gas is showing clear sign of decline, with no prospects for immediate improvement in the scenario.

Comparative production / consumption profile of crude oil / gas

In million tonnes

 

                            December

2012

2011

Crude oil output

3.206

3.173

Natural gas (billion cubic metre)

3.333

3.915

Refinery output

15.542

14.807

Consumption / demand of petro products

13.409

13.018

According to Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC), the consumption estimates represent the market demand and is aggregate of sales by oil companies in the domestic market and consumption through direct imports by private parties. While the data for company sales were actual, that of private direct imports are estimated.

Confusing signals

To meet the growing petroleum product demand and with no significant increase in indigenous output, the Indian petroleum refineries were compelled to import more crude oil in December 2012 year-on-year. The refineries  (18 public sector and two private sector) imported 15.133 million tonne of oil (13.933 million tonnes in December 2011). Reliance Industries does not share planned targets and production data for its export oriented refinery in Jamnagar.

While there have been some production of coal bed methane gas which is of insignificant quantity compared to national requirement, government policies on shale gas exploration is yet to be announced firmly. Loud talk  and claims about jatropha bio fuel projects have  come to mean nothing, as several jatropha bio diesel plants have closed due to lack of imaginative incentive programmes by the government. With regard to algae bio fuel project, the country is moving without definite game plans.

With the substantial  stepping of production of shale gas in USA in recent time, there is expectation that the price of natural gas in the global market will remain steady in the future and there is unlikely to be any scenario similar to “crude oil price shock”.

The net result of the scenario is that the country has no convincing and alternative strategies, other than importing natural gas in a big way to meet the future energy requirements. A national consensus has emerged about the inevitable need to depend on import of natural gas to sustain the national economic growth of the country.

While the country appears to be reconciling itself to the dependence on natural gas in a big way, still the Government of India is sending confusing signals,which is driving the chemical industry towards a state of uncertainty.

Delayed LNG projects

While a few LNG terminals are being planned for import of gas, there have been enormous delay in implementing the LNG projects . For example, Kochi LNG terminal has already been delayed by several years. Now, the latest information is that the terminal is ready but the  pipeline to transport the gas is not ready.. This is similar to the act of putting the  cart before the horse. It is said that the Kochi LNG terminal would be commissioned by April / May 2013  but it can operate only at around 10 to 15 percent of the capacity level, due to the non completion of pipeline project.

Proposed Ennore LNG terminal at Ennore near Chennai is also unlikely to be commissioned by 2016 considering the present progress.

Domestic natural gas output continues to fall

Natural decline in output from some of the natural gas producing fields coupled with continued fall in output from the country’s largest fields saw the domestic production fall for the 25th straight month in December.

Decline in gas production fell 14.9 per cent in December year-on-year with output from the offshore fields including Reliance Industries operated D6 block dipping 17.5 per cent.

Natural decline in output is because of ageing fields. Drop in D6 block output is because seven producing wells in D1, D3 fields and two in MA fields have ceased to flow gas due to water/sand ingress.

According to the data released by the Petroleum & Natural Gas Ministry, for the April-December period of the current fiscal, the natural gas output fell 13.3 per cent against the same period previous year and  output from the offshore fields have dropped 16 per cent.

KG-D6 block is currently producing 20.4 mmscmd (16.4 mmscmd from D1, D3 fields and           4 mmscmd from MA fields) after hitting a peak of 60 mmscmd in end-2009. This output is unlikely to increase before 2015-16 when Reliance and its partners in the block – BP and Niko Resources – are targeting to bring the satellite discoveries on stream.

Prospects in MJ1

The contractors of D6 block are optimistic about the MJ1 discovery in one part of the producing gas fields (D1 and D3). They feel that MJ1 could have significant gas reserves. The contractors are looking to start drilling in MJ1.

Dependence on import of natural gas

Today, gas consumption is about 175 mmscmd in the country, of which 120 mmscmd is domestically produced and 51-55 mmscmd is imported.

With domestic gas output on a steady decline, the dependence on imports is rising.

Duty exemption for natural gas – but power units not impressed

Budget 2012-13 had abolished the 5 per cent customs duty on LNG used as fuel by power generation companies, such as NTPC and Reliance Power. This decision was expected to benefit the consuming sector.

However, key power players are yet to make use of the benefit. The reason is two-fold: First, power companies do not import the LNG directly and, second, the imported fuel is expensive.

Some in the power sector say that since the imports are done through Petronet LNG or GAIL, it would be best to give them the exemption.

Price of natural gas

While domestically produced gas is available from $4.2/mmBtu to $5.7/mmBtu, spot LNG comes in only at $15-17/mmBtu and long-term contracts peg it at around $11.5/mmBtu. Of course, these prices exclude local taxes and levies as well as transmission tariff and marketing margin.

There are few or no takers for electricity generated from imported gas, as it costs Rs 7-10 a unit as opposed to thermal power (coal based) that costs Rs 3 to 4.5 per unit.

The power sector has been pitching for a pooled price for domestic and imported gas and rationalisation of domestic taxes. The industry feels the policy should be reformed so as to give options to absorb pricing of imported fuels such as coal and gas.

Power units are of the view that the basic power tariff structure should be  reformed and VAT rationalised by granting natural gas ‘Declared Good’ status.

Natural gas pricing formula of the Rangarajan panel

The Rangarajan panel has suggested a pricing formula for ‘future’ contracts, based on the average of two prices — price at other producing destinations and the volume-weighted price of US’s Henry Hub, UK’s NBP (National Balancing Point) and Japan Custom Cleared (on net-back basis, since it is an importer) trailing for 12 months.

The suggested formula will apply to pricing decisions made in future and can be reviewed after five years, when the possibility of pricing based on direct gas-on-gas competition may be assessed.

The Petroluem and Natural Gas Ministry, based on the recommendations of the Rangarajan Panel, has proposed natural gas pricing guidelines which, if accepted, would result in almost doubling of prices.Domestically produced gas price in the country would then be around  $7-8/mmBtu at the current rate. Domestically produced natural gas being sold in the range of $4.2-5.7/mmBtu  will go up .

This would bring some respite to both public and private sector gas producers such as ONGC, Oil India and Reliance Industries among others.If the proposal gets the mandatory approval, then the new price for Reliance Industries-operated D6 block will also be based on this formula.

In its draft proposal for the Empowered Group of Ministers, the Ministry is understood to have said that the objective was to ensure that domestically produced natural gas prices were fixed in a fair manner and should also result in incentivising production.

Oil and Gas blocks in  "No-Go" area; imposing ban on  production activity

Defence Ministry has either withdrawn or withheld clearances for 47 oil and gas blocks.Of these, 14 have been classified as no-go areas.

The reasons cited for withdrawing clearance included being close to missile launching range, overlapping with the proposed naval base, the naval firing range and air Force exercise area.

Besides the 14 no-go blocks, the defence ministry has put stringent conditions on 32 exploration blocks.  The conditions include firms not locating any pipelines or structures on sea surface in the blocks cleared for exploration and production activities.

Subsea/submerged permanent structures, if any, are to be located more than 100 metres below sea surface or outside the DRDO/Indian Air Force danger zone area (on sea surface) or naval exercise areas.

Reliance Industries and its partner BP plc’s KG-D6 gasfields and gas discovery area NEC-25 are among 14 oil and gas blocks that have been declared “no-go” areas by the defence ministry, which effectively bars any exploration or production activity.

RIL-BP’s KG-DWN-98/3, or KG-D6 block, has been declared as no-go, as it overlaps with a proposed naval base.

KG-D6 was awarded to Reliance Industries Ltd. in 2000 after clearances were obtained from all ministries concerned. It has been producing oil since September 2008 and gas from April 1, 2009.  RIL-BP’s Mahanadi basin block NEC-OSN-97/2 (NEC-25), where sizable gas discoveries have been made, has also been classified as a no-go area, as it is close the to missile launching range/the air force exercise area.  Companies like Reliance Industry have already invested $15 billion since 2000 and the ministry of defence has now with-drawn or withheld clearance to them.

The other 12 no-go blocks are with state- owned ONGC, Cairn India and Australia’s BHP Billiton.

Oil Ministry’s view on ‘No- go area

Sources said that the Oil Ministry sought the Government’s approval for relaxing the stringent conditions on 32 exploration blocks and clearances for the 14 no-go blocks.

As per the Production sharing contract (PSC) signed between the government and the firms such as RIL, damages for breach of the contract can be sought.

PRODUCT PROFILE - CLOMAZONE ( HERBICIDE)
Molecular Formula C12H14ClNO2
CAS No. 8177-89-1
Chemical Name 2-[(2-chlorophenyl)methyl]-4,4-dimethyl-3-isooxazolone
Form Liquid
Colour Brown 
Odour Slight aromatic

Stability and reactivity

Stability: Stable under ordinary conditions 

Polymerization: Polymerization will not occur 

Specifications

 Parameter

Value

Clomazone content

95.0% Min.

Moisture content

0.5% Max.

Acidity (calculated as H2so4)

0.3% Max.

Insoluble component in acetone

0.3% Max

Solubility

Clomazone is slightly soluble in water (solubility in water is 1.1g/1 at 25 degree C ), and easily soluble in organic solvents such as acetone, acetonitrile, chloroform, cyclohexanone, dichloromethane, methanol and toluene.

Handling and Storage

Clomazone should be stored in  cool, dry, well-ventilated place.

The following details are discussed in this article

  • Applications
  • Formulations
  • Global market
  • Scenario in China
  • Indian scenario
PRODUCT PROFILE - TRIMETHYLOLPROPANE
Appearance Crystalline solid
Colour                                                 Colourless
Alternative name 2-ethyl-2-hydroxymethyl-1,3-propanol
Chemical formula C6H14O2
CAS no 77-99-6
Solubility Soluble in water and polar organic solvents
Toxicity Trimethylol propane (TMP)  has low acute oral and dermal toxicity

The following details are discussed in this article

  • Applications
  • Process
  • Global Production and demand      
  • Important global producers
  • Scenario in China
  • Indian Scenario
  • Global import / export trade of TMP
  • Major Importing countries
  • Major exporting countries
  • Price in China
TRAVAILS OF PUBLIC SECTOR VACCINE UNITS

India, despite having major public sector units capable of producing vaccines, still sources the bulk of its vaccines from the private sector.

In January 2008, three PSUs (Central Research Institute, Kasauli and Pasteur Institute of India, Coonoor, and BCG Vaccine Lab, Chennai) were shut down citing non-compliance with the World Health Organisation’s good manufacturing practices (GMP).

The details are further discussed in this article.

PERFORMANCE OF COAL INDIA

Background details

Coal India is one of the largest coal-producing companies in the world. It has  11 direct and indirect subsidiaries, of which nine are involved in coal production.  It has proven reserves of 52 billion tonnes (47 per cent of India’s proved reserves) and extractable reserves of 22 billion tonnes. 72 per cent of CIL’s output is absorbed by power producers, with the rest being used by steel makers, cement makers and others.

Coal India sells its output at contracted prices that are at a substantial discount to global prices.

On a consolidated basis, CIL registered 24 per cent growth in sales in FY12 to Rs 62,415 crore compared with growth of 12 per cent in FY11 and 15 per cent in FY10. Its net profit grew 36 per cent in FY 12 to Rs 14,788 crore compared to 12 per cent growth in FY11.

Following subjects are discussed in this article

  • Dispatches
  • Fuel supply arrangement (FSA)
  • Proposal for revising Fuel Supply Arrangement (FSA)
  • Projections for 2013
GLOBAL & INDIAN ZINC SCENARIO

According to the International Lead & Zinc Study Group (ILZSG), supply of the zinc metal is expected to outstrip demand by 2,93,000 tonnes in 2013, compared to a 1,53,000-tonne surplus in 2012. The increased output will easily tide over a projected 3.8 per cent improvement in demand to 13.19 million tonnes in 2013.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

TECHNOLOGY  TO CUT FERTILIZER IMPORTS

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) together with Department of Biotechnology have developed an innovative technology for mass production of Mycorrhiza.

'Mycorrhiza' can reduce the country's dependence on chemical soil nutrients and help increase crop productivity.Mycorrhiza is the only known fungal system categorised as a biofertiliser. Its application is limited in India because of constraints related to mass production.

TERI has solved the problem by developing mass inoculum production technology for mycorrhizal fungi.

Mycorrhiza fungi is more sustainable and can reduce import of chemical fertilisers.

The above subject is further discussed in this article.

FOCUS ON ALGAE / ALGAE BIO FUEL

Globally, activities in the field of algae bio fuels are taking place in a big way.In June 2010, US D.O.E. announed up to $24million grant to three projects that aim to commercialize production of biofuels from algae.

Algae bio fuel could be India’s savior from the present energy crisis.

Obviously, huge R&D efforts  and promotional schemes are required to exploit the opportunities in the field of algae bio fuel.

Algae and algae bio fuel are focused in this issue , highlighting the recent developments around the world.

In this article, types & species of algae, comparative yield of oil per acre, conversion of algae to biofuels, the issues relating to production cost,etc are discussed along with the following details.

Highlights of selected R&D initiatives

  • Project of Solazyme - Convert biomass directly to oil
  • Algae based ethanol developed by Algenol
  • Cellana’s project for combination of bio reactors with ponds
  • Project of SAT for ethanol from algae
GAS-BASED PUMPING UNITS TO CUT PRODUCTION COST

Oilfield services company Halliburton blamed the upfront cost of rolling out its "frac of the future" efficiency initiative, as well as lower rig rates and idled equipment, for shrinking margins in its North American business, when the company presented its Q4 results.

Frac (or frack as it also called) of the future may be causing the company some discomfort in the short term. But it is a perfect case study of how the drilling industry is innovating in response to the pressure to cut costs and its environmental footprint.

The details about how the gas based pumping units are cutting the production cost is discussed in this article.

PROSPECTS FOR SSBR MARKET - FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

There is a clear trend toward low rolling resistance tires, not only in Europe but globally as well. However, this will hardly be possible without improved high performance solution styrene-butadiene rubber grades (SSBR) as well as Nd-PBR (Neodymium based Performance Butadiene Rubber).

These are two of the most important results of an extensive study about the SSBR market performed on behalf of LANXESS by Stratley Portfolio Performance Incorporated, consulting company.

LANXESS has expertise in SSBR chemistry and production technology that is unique worldwide.

SSBR’s market prospects is discussed in this article.

LOW TEMPERATURE DISTILLATION FOR SEAWATER DESALINATION

Watersolutions AG has introduced the Watersolutions LTD system, a patented, cost-effective thermal process for seawater desalination, based on the principle of low temperature distillation.

The Watersolutions LTD system condenses water at low temperature and pressure, using waste heat (50-110 deg. C) from thermal processes including renewable energy sources such as solar energy or geothermal energy. The system requires significant amount of low grade waste heat (6 - 30 MW), which can be derived from any source including thermal power plants and waste incineration.

A pilot plant in El Gouna, Egypt, with a design capacity of 500 cubic meters per day (m3/d), has proven the principle, with very pure water being produced reliably and efficiently.

Seawater desalination at low temperature distillation is further discussed in this article.

OTHER ARTICLES

SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PAGE

Accidents occurred in following companies are discussed

  • Blast at Hetero Drugs Vizag unit
  • Fire at IOC Hazira unit
  • ONGC fire:2 killed
  • Train derailment spill vinyl chloride
  • Shell responsible for Nigeria spills, rules Dutch court
  • Chinese coal mine deaths

ANTI DUMPING PAGE

The antidumping measures introduced in the various countries in the last few weeks on the following products are discussed

  • TDI
  • MEK
  • Solar cells
  • Phthalic anhydride

NEWS ROUND UP - INTERNATIONAL

The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:

  • Precipitated silica
  • Biobased succinic acid
  • Soda ash projects of Solvay
  • R-1234yf
  • Carboxymethyl-cellulose
  • Helium
  • Fluoro elastomers
  • Cellulosic ethanol facility of DuPont
  • PVDF
  • Hexanediol
  • DSM Dyneema Technical Center in Singapore
  • Spectacular growth of US oil production

NEWS ROUND UP- INDIA

The recent developments on the following events are discussed:

  • Crisis looms for SAIL due to delay in mine clearances
  • Haldia Petrochemicals in dire straits
  • Trade disputes
  • Anti dumping probe in China

INDIAN SOLAR EQUIPMENT COMPANIES AT THE CROSS ROADS

Indian solar equipment manufacturers are facing a hard time with the price of solar panels crashing in the global market coupled with sluggish demand in India. Most of the Indian units have either shut down their operations or have scaled down to 15-30% of their capacity.

This article discuss about the status of Indian solar equipment companies.

CHINA’S POLYSILICON INDUSTRY IN CRISIS

Having started in the 1960s, China’s polysilicon industry, in the last 40 years developed at a slow pace but in the recent 10 years, it has witnessed ups and downs.

Following details with regard to China’s polysilicon industry are discussed in this article.

  • Rapid growth
  • Sharp fall
  • Strategies
  • Import / export trend
  • CHINA NEWS
  • The recent developments on the following products/events are discussed:
  • Butanol/2-ethylhexanol
  • PO /MTBE facility in Nanjing
  • Monochloroacetic acid
  • PVB resin
  • Dimethyl acetamide
  • PET

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

CLARIFIED PP RESIN 5200XT

Milliken & Company announced that FPC Ningbo, a division of Formosa Plastics Corporation, Taiwan’s largest petrochemical producer, has developed a new grade of polypropylene (PP) using Milliken’s advanced Millad® NX™ 8000K clarifier.

Development of clarified PP resin 5200 XT is discussed in this article.

NEW NANOFIBRE PRODUCTION CONCEPT

Xanofi, a nanotech company specializing in nanofiber applications and based in Raleigh, NC, USA has introduced a new platform for nanofiber production with their commercial XanoShear machine.

The world’s first production unit is now fully operational and is currently being optimized for high yield production.

Concept of new nanofibre production is discussed in this article.

Following details are also discussed

  • Silicon nanostructures
  • Energy efficient refrigeration technology

AGRO CHEMICAL PAGE

The recent developments on the following products/events are updated

  • Pesticide Benomyl linked to Parkinson's disease
  • Coffee residue, a valuable bioactive resource
  • Scientists map Chana Genome
  • Icrisat-led consortium in pact with EU nations to recycle waste water

PHARMA PAGE

The recent developments on the following pharma products/events are updated

  • Scientists discover potential cure for AIDS
  • Pentavalent vaccine
  • Issues on bar coding for pharma exports
  • Six-in-one combination paediatric vaccine

OPPORTUNITIES FOR BIOSIMILARS

Biosimilar can be a ‘copy of’ or ‘similar to’ the biological drug, whose patent has expired, but not exactly identical the biological drug.

One of the key drivers promoting the development of biosimilars is that they are an affordable alternative to originator medicines.

Significant opportunities are expected to open up for Indian pharmaceutical companies in the biosimilar segment, with biological drugs with a market value of over $50 billion slated to shed their patent protection in the US alone in the next six years.

The above subject is discussed in this article.

NEW MOLECULE FOR CANCER CURE

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have discovered a new molecule that, they say, could potentially lead to an anti-cancer drug, which may help reduce the dosage of current treatment methods like chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The molecule, aimed at killing cancer cells by blocking their DNA repair mechanism, was successful in removing tumours in mice during laboratory experiments, say the researchers.

The team is now evaluating offers to collaborate, including one from a US-based pharma company, for further research and clinical trials. Typically, the road to market for a new molecule can take at least a decade.

The above subject is discussed in this article.

ENVIRONMENTAL PAGE

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN SHALE GAS PRODUCTION

The volume of unwanted gas being flared off in North Dakota,in USA, the state leading the shale revolution transforming the outlook for US energy, rose about 50 per cent last year. The surge at the state's Bakken formation is being replicated in other shale regions with the Texas state regulator issuing 1,963 permits to flare in 2012, more than six times the number of 306 in 2010.

The volume of gas flared in the US has tripled in just five years, according to World Bank estimates and is now fifth highest in the world, behind Russia, Nigeria, Iran and Iraq.

Environmental issues relating to shale gas production is further discussed in this article.

Other subjects discussed are the following

  • EPA proposes assessment review model for endocrine
  • Melamine may leach on chemical into food, shows study
OTHER ARTICLES
  • Price details – Molasses, 1,2,4-triazole / Chloroformate, Crude edible oil
  • Tenders
  • Chemicals Imported at the Chennai Port during the month of November 2012
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