June's top stories: Shell to build in Pennsylvania, Albemarle-BASF $3.2bn deal

Shell Chemical Appalachia revealed plans to build a new petrochemical complex near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, while Albemarle signed an agreement to sell its Chemetall surface treatment business to BASF for $3.2bn. Chemicals-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from June.

Shell Top

Shell to build new petrochemicals complex in Pennsylvania, US

Shell Chemical Appalachia revealed plans to build a new petrochemical complex, including an ethylene cracker and polyethylene derivatives unit, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US.

Construction of the project is expected to begin in around 18 months, with commercial production planned to start early next decade.

The proposed complex will use low-priced ethane from shale gas producers based in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year.

Albemarle to sell global surface treatment business to BASF for $3.2bn

Albemarle signed an agreement to sell its Chemetall surface treatment business to Germany-based BASF for $3.2bn.

Headquartered in Germany, Chemetall operates 21 production sites in more than 20 countries, as well as ten research and development locations and 24 sales offices.

Albemarle president and CEO Luke Kissam said: "The sale of Chemetall reflects Albemarle's continued commitment to maximising shareholder value by investing in the future growth of our high priority businesses, reducing leverage and returning capital to shareholders.

ETH Zurich and partners demonstrate process to make succinic acid from wood

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A research team led by Switzerland's science and technology university ETH Zurich demonstrated a new process that manufactures succinic acid from wood instead of oil.

Succinic acid is a major basic chemical product that is added to fuel and lubricants to protect motors from corrosion.

The new process uses bacteria to manufacture succinic acid in a method demonstrated to be cost-effective, environmentally friendly and safe.

Westlake Chemical to buy Axiall for $3.8bn

Westlake Chemical signed a definite agreement to buy Axiall for $3.8bn, including debt and other liabilities.

Approved by the board of directors of both companies, the deal is expected to be completed by Q4 of this year.

Westlake's president and chief executive officer Albert Chao said: "This transaction aligns two remarkable companies and creates a company with greater financial and operational flexibility and accelerates our growth strategy.

JX Nippon unveils engineering design for polyisobutylene plant expansion in Japan


JX Nippon Oil & Energy launched front-end engineering design for polyisobutylene (PIB) plant expansion at the company's site in Japan.

The transparent non-noxious high-viscosity liquid, PIB is used for sealing compounds of multi-layered glass and medical use adhesive.

JX Nippon said that the PIB business has been developed based on original technology since 1980 to add value to C4 fraction at Kawasaki.

Wison Engineering begins construction on EPC project in UAE

Wison Engineering started construction on its first engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project west of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The latest development helps Wison advance its position in the strategic market of the Middle East.

The new project is part of the ethylene plant expansion of an undisclosed plastics solutions provider, and scheduled for completion in October next year.

Clariant opens new water-based pigment preparations production plant in Mexico

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Clariant opened its new production plant for water-based pigment preparations in Mexico.

The new facility in Santa Clara has augmented Clariant's annual production capacity for water-based pigment preparations in the country.

It will enable Clariant to cater to the regions' current and emerging market segments, including decorative coatings, non-impact and flexo printing, industrial coatings, and specialties like home care, personal care and stationery.

Stepan Company to expand polyester polyol facility in Poland

Stepan Company revealed plans to expand its polyester polyol facility in Brzeg Dolny, Poland.

As part of the expansion, a new reactor will be added to the facility.

The expansion will be carried out to support Stepan's growth in the coatings adhesives sealants and elastomers (CASE) business for its European customers.