Braskem to maintain its polyvinyl chloride production

(ICIS) -- Brazil-based Braskem will maintain its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production - even if that means purchasing feedstock - after the company idled a chlor-alkali unit following a chlorine leak and pipline rupture at its Maceio facility in Alagoas, the company said on Tuesday.

That chlor-alkali unit was the site of two recent accidents. On Saturday, a chlorine leak at the site sickened 130 people, according to the Maceio Health State Office. Since then, 129 people have left the hospital.

On Monday, a plant pipeline burst, injuring five workers, according to a public relations firm for Braskem.

The Ministerio Public Federal (MPF) and the Civil Police are investigating the leak and a pipeline burst. The MPF gave the company five days to explain what happened.

On Tuesday, the city council asked Braskem to explain the accident before both the community and the city council. However, the company did not show up. Meanwhile, Braskem will keep the chlor-alkali unit shut down, it said. The company gave no timeline on the length of the shutdown.

The Maceio unit has a capacity of 460 KTa of caustic soda. An ethylene dichloride (EDC) unit at Maceio has a capacity of 600 KTa.


Mississippi re-opened after being closed because of a barge accident

(ICIS) -- A nine-mile (14km) stretch of the Mississippi river at Baton Rouge has been re-opened after being closed over the weekend because of a barge accident, a US Coast Guard (USCG) spokesman said on Monday. ⌠It's open but there are restrictions, said Petty Officer Bill Coldclough.

Three grain barges sank in the river at Baton Rouge on Friday after colliding with a dock. The 195-foot (59 metre) vessel Crimson Gem was pushing 20 barges of grain, according to a USCG release. No one was injured and there was no pollution from the accident, Coldclough said. The re-opened area extends from mile marker 228 to 237, Coldclough said.

Southbound traffic to New Orleans is restricted to daylight travel with a tow, and northbound traffic from New Orleans to Baton Rouge must check in with New Orleans vessel traffic service, he added.

Several chemical plants and refineries are on the Mississippi, downriver from Baton Rouge. Water in several parts of the river are near record highs, making it more difficult and dangerous for vessels to navigate the waterway.


Strong regional demand contributes to steady growth of Asia's petrochemicals segment

(ICIS) -- Asia's petrochemicals segment is expected to grow steadily this year and the next because of strong regional demand, although environmental issues will pose a challenge, an industry leader said late on Monday.

⌠In view of the economic fundamentals, steady growth [of the petrochemical industry] is expected for 2011 and 2012, owing to strong demand from the emerging economies, chairman of Japan Petrochemical Industry Association (JPCA), Kyohei Takahashi, told ICIS via email.

China, the world's second biggest economy, together with India - a fast-emerging market where, industry sources say, even basic polymers are growing at double-digit percentage rates - are both considered to be the main engines of growth in Asia with high demand for petrochemicals.

Takahashi, who is also the representative director and chairman of the board at Japanese chemical company, Showa Denko K.K., was speaking ahead of the region's biggest industry event - the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) 2011, which will be held at Fukuoka in Japan on 26-27 May.


6th Global Chlor-vinyl Markets conference to be held in Istanbul

(MRC) -- CMT (Singapore) is hosting the 6th Global Chlor-vinyl Markets conference in Istanbul, Turkey on 09-10 June 2011 to discuss opportunities and challenges that lay ahead for the global Chlor-Vinyl industry across Asia-Pacific, Middle East/Africa, Russia/Central Asia and Latin America.

The 6th Global Chlor-vinyl conference will showcase leading PVC producers and traders including Vinnolit GmbH, Bayegan Group, Petrokemya, CHemplast Sanmar, Tangshan Sanyou International Industry Co., plus China General Plastics Corporation to zoom in on country and region-specific papers on India, China, Africa, Latin America and Russia/Central Asia.

The 6th Global Chlor Vinyl Markets is envisaged to attract a gathering of middle to top level managers and decision makers from the Chlor Vinyl industry including producers, traders, EPC and logistics companies, plasticizers , stabilizers, additives producers, pipes, profiles, film & sheets, windows, flooring converters/ manufacturers, researchers and innovators.


An explosion hit the Abadan Refinery near the coast of the Arabian Gulf

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Iranian Fars News Agency reported that an explosion hit the Abadan Refinery, located near the coast of the Arabian Gulf. The news agency said that the explosion was due to a technical problem. Subsequent reports state the explosion was the result of a gas leak.

According to the Fars agency, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - who was visiting the refinery at the time - was not hurt. However, the explosion caused one death and left 22 wounded.

The refinery was completed in 1912 and was one of world's largest oil refineries when it was destroyed in 1980 by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war.

The refinery had a capacity of 635.000 b/d in 1980 and formed a refinery complex with important petrochemical plants. Its capacity has been increased steadily since the war ended in 1988. Its capacity is now listed as 400.000 bbl/d crude oil.