Can India replicate Middle East’s desalination success story

Water is an essential ingredient in across industries, not just in the products but also in the preparation for cleaning the products, processing and other uses. While 71 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water, only a tiny amount (0.6 percent) is fit for consumption. The supply of clean and fresh water is fast decreasing. In contrast, the demand for consumption of water is fast increasing due to a growing global population, agricultural activities and economic development. Pressures from both, the supply and demand sides means that clean water is increasingly becoming hard to source. Read More

Total SA and Saudi Aramco have signed a joint development agreement for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) of a giant petrochemical complex in Jubail, on Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast. The agreement was signed by Amin Nasser, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco and Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman and CEO of Total. Announced in April 2018, the world-class complex will be located next to the SATORP refinery, operated by Saudi Aramco (62.5 percent) and Total (37.5 percent), in order to fully exploit operational synergies.The project represents an investment of around $5 billion and is scheduled to start-up in 2024. Read More

Wood Group has secured a new multi-million-dollar contract with Duqm Refinery and Petrochemicals Industries to provide two Terrace Wall double-fired delayed coker heaters at their refinery on the south eastern coast of the Sultanate of Oman. The award follows on from Wood’s successful delivery of the engineering and process design phase, the technology package and licence of the company’s SYDEC (selective yield delayed coking) technology. Effective immediately, the contract will be delivered by Wood’s process and technology specialists based in New Jersey, US, and builds on Wood’s strong contribution to the Duqm Refinery to date, including the successful delivery of the overall facility pre-FEED, FEED and ongoing project management. Read More

Sonatrach and Total SA have signed two agreements as part of the comprehensive partnership announced in 2017: A new concession contract to jointly develop the Erg Issouane gas field located on the TFT Sud permit, signed by Sonatrach, Total and Alnaft (the National Agency for the Valorization of Hydrocarbon Resources). The TFT Sud permit is located south of the Tin Fouye Tabankort (TFT) field, of which Total is a long-standing partner. Sonatrach (51%) and Total (49%) will develop the reserves of Erg Issouane located on the TFT Sud permit estimated at more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Read More

Going Back To The Roots…

With a growing population, nowadays farming and food consumption is becoming a major area of focus. Along with the grain and pulses requirement, health or organic quotient of the food is also gaining prime importance. Over the years, with continuous and regular crop plantation, farmers have forgotten the nutrition requirements of the soil. Further, the preference for growing specific produce such as ‘cash rich’ or ‘export oriented’ crops has also added to the woes. Not only the farmers but also the Government policies have not been supportive for a long haul. Against this backdrop, the agricultural community and various stakeholders are demanding better solutions for soil nutrition. Read More

By Kyuyeol Lee: Numerous products encountered in everyday life would be unthinkable without the use of adhesives and sealants. Adhesives, which are stronger, bind surfaces together, while sealants are used to make materials such as concrete air- and water-tight and are frequently applied on the exterior walls of buildings, for example. Adhesives have the ability to bind different materials together and to distribute stress more efficiently across joints. They are easily applied and allow increased design flexibility over other binding systems. Polymer Stabilizers help to prevent discoloration and loss of adhesive properties. Read More

Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, have undergone rapid development over the past few years. Whether as a toy for children and adults or – in top quality – as support for rescue operations and in farming, drones are becoming increasingly common. Market research institute Gartner estimates that around three million drones were sold worldwide in 2017 – almost 40 percent more than in the previous year. Gartner also predicts that drones will be one of the strongest-growing sectors in consumer electronics over the coming years. Corporate consultants at PwC expect a global market of almost $130 billion for drone-based services, for example in infrastructure, transport and security. Read More

By Rajendra Gogri: The Indian economy traditionally being an agrarian economy has seen a tectonic shift from an agriculture industry based economy to become a service industry based economy. More than half of its population is dependent on agriculture as its primary occupation. The Green Revolution in the early 1970s helped India become a food surplus country from a food deficient country and currently ranks amongst the top 15 exporters of agricultural products in the world. However, despite all these achievement the agriculture sector is facing a number of issues which includes reduction of arable land, lower per hectare yield, increase in pest attacks and lower farmer income. This is where agrochemicals have an important role to play. Read More

Hikma appoints European commercial head for injectables

Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (Hikma) has appointed Sagar Patel to a newly created London-based role as the European Commercial Head for its injectables business, effective immediately. Reporting to the CEO of Hikma’s injectables division, Riad Mechlaoui, Patel will focus on developing business growth strategies and partnerships with key stakeholders across the region. He joins the company from Fresenius Kabi, where he most recently held the role of Senior VP global alliance management and third-party manufacturing. Patel joins Hikma at a time of organizational change to boost the group’s senior leadership capabilities and expand its reach across Europe. Read More

Covestro AG and its partners have developed a high-performance thermoplastic (HPT) that could be used in many industries in the future. This would significantly increase the sustainability and performance of products in areas such as aviation, automotive and health. The challenge now is to enable the continuous production of the new plastic on a large scale. This is the goal of a research project coordinated by Covestro and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). HPT is a high-performance plastic that can be processed by injection moulding and uniquely combines numerous good properties. Read More

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and partner firm Photanol BV are going to build a demonstration plant for a groundbreaking technology to produce chemicals from sunlight. The plant will be built at AkzoNobel’s site in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. The companies formed a partnership in 2014 to jointly work on a technology using cyanobacteria that mimics the way plants use photosynthesis to produce chemical building blocks such as organic acids from carbon dioxide (CO2). These have applications in biodegradable plastics, personal care products and as intermediates for the chemical industry. Read More


Emery Oleochemicals’ Eco-Friendly Polyols business has introduced a new line of aromatic-containing EMEROX Polyols for rigid PUR and PIR foam applications. EMEROX Polyols for CASE applications offer unique performance characteristics including a hydrophobic backbone and low viscosity with the additional benefit of high renewable content in the 70-99 percent range. These polyols, which show good compatibility with common solvents and chain extenders, enable the formulator to develop polyurethane coatings that are clear, glossy, offer low moisture vapor transmission and have excellent UV and chemical resistance. Read More

Proteins research bags 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is finally revealed. Researchers win the Nobel Prize for their work harnessing the power of evolution to develop proteins that solve humankind’s chemical problems. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Prize with one half to Frances H. Arnold, at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, US “for the directed evolution of enzymes,” and the other half jointly to George P. Smith at the University of Missouri, Columbia, US and Gregory P. Winter at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies. Read More


Ineos announced plans to construct a world-scale propane dehydrogenation unit, together with the first gas cracker to be built in Europe for more than 20 years. After careful consideration, Ineos has selected McDermott’s Lummus Catofin Technology as the operating technology for its planned PDH unit and a license agreement has now been signed. In parallel, an agreement has been signed with Clariant for the long-term supply of catalyst for the unit. The PDH unit will have a nameplate capacity of 750ktpa of polymer grade propylene and is planned to be commissioned in 2023. Propylene from the asset will feed INEOS’ polypropylene units, as well as a number of other downstream propylene derivative businesses. Read More

AkzoNobel NV has completed the sale of the specialty chemicals business to The Carlyle Group and GIC for an enterprise value of €10.1 billion. “This is a key milestone in the history of AkzoNobel, creating a focused paints and coatings company, with market-leading positions, strong global brands, and a clear strategy to create value for all our stakeholders. This is also an important step for the specialty chemicals business and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our colleagues and wish them a successful future with Carlyle and GIC,” Thierry Vanlancker, CEO of AkzoNobel. “I am delighted to assume my new role at specialty chemicals and look forward to working with the management team, Carlyle and GIC to deliver long-term success. Read More

Solvay SA has finalized an exclusive agreement with French biotech producer Deinove SA to commercialize ReGeN-oPhyt. ReGeN-oPhyt is a novel, natural active ingredient for skin-care products in North America and Asia. ReGeN-oPhyt is derived from phytoene, a colourless carotenoid used as a cutting-edge skin-care active to deliver antioxidant/anti-aging properties. ReGeN-oPhyt was developed using a state-of-the-art biotechnology platform based on the fermentation of natural sugars by extremophilic Deinococcus bacterium. Carotenoids are naturally occurring substances that fight oxidative stress in skin cells. Until now, nutrition was the only recognized logical source of phytoene for consumers. Read More

Doomsday chemical seized in India, US-hating scholar arrested

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018 is finally revealed. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Medicine jointly to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation. James P. Allison was born 1948 in Alice, Texas, US. He received his PhD in 1973 at the University of Texas, Austin. Since 2012 he has been Professor at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas and is affiliated with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Tasuku Honjo was born in 1942 in Kyoto, Japan. He received his PhD in 1975 at Kyoto University. Read More

In an operation spread over a week, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) with the help of a team of scientists from Defence Research & Development Establishment busted an illegal laboratory in Indore, Madhya Pradesh and recovered 9 kg of a deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl, that could have potentially killed 4-5 million people. Run by a local businessman and a “US-hating” PhD “scholar chemist”, the fentanyl seizure, first in India, has raised security concerns in Delhi as the chemical can cause large-scale casualties if used in chemical warfare, a scenario reminiscent of the plot in Alistair Maclean’s thriller “Satan Bug”. A Mexican national has also been arrested. Read More

A team of researchers at the University of Delaware’s Center for Catalytic Science and Technology (CCST) has discovered a novel two-step process to increase the efficiency of carbon dioxide (CO2) electrolysis. CO2 electrolysis is a chemical reaction driven by electrical currents that can aid in the production of valuable chemicals and fuels. The study was published in the journal Nature Catalysis.  The research team, consisting of Feng Jiao, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and graduate students Matthew Jouny and Wesley Luc, obtained their results by constructing a specialized three-chambered device called an electrolyser, which uses electricity to reduce CO2 into smaller molecules. Read More

Ascend Performance Materials to showcase a new grade of its Vydyne PA66 designed for automotive lightweighting. The new grade, Vydyne R433H, is designed to reinforce down-gauged steel and aluminium used in vehicle body in white (BIW) structures, helping reduce weight without sacrificing safety or comfort. Vydyne R433H has improved energy absorption over traditional glass-filled PA66, reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and absorbing impact energy from crashes. Using the new grade in the BIW structure reinforces sheet metal, helping manufacturers shave substantial weight and improve efficiency. Read More

Huntsman launches new DaltoPIR technology in India

Huntsman has launched its DaltoPIR technology, a PIR-based insulation technology, designed to improve the production and performance of foam panels in India. Huntsman’s DaltoPIR technology has the potential to transform the production of fire retardant, polyisocyanurate (PIR) sandwich panels. Huntsman’s DaltoPIR technology offers a different viscosity build-up in rising foam, which enables more stable, more consistent processing. This, in turn, can help panel producers achieve better panel planarity and quicker line speeds. Furthermore, the resulting foam has very low friability, which contributes positively to the long-term properties of the panels. Read More

Breaking the bonds between oxygen and hydrogen in water could be a key to the creation of hydrogen in a sustainable manner, but finding an economically viable technique for this has proved difficult. Researchers report a new hydrogen-generating catalyst that clears many of the obstacles – abundance, stability in acid conditions and efficiency. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported on an electrocatalytic material made from mixing metal compounds with substance called perchloric acid. Electrolyzers use electricity to break water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen. Read More

Shell Brasil Petroleo Ltda and its bid consortium member Chevron Brasil Oleo & Gas Ltda (Chevron), won a 35-year production sharing contract for the Saturno pre-salt block located off the coast of Brazil in the Santos Basin. Shell will pay its share of the total signing bonus for the block, equating to approximately $390 million [R$ 1,562 billion]. With the addition of the Saturno block (Shell 50% operating, Chevron 50%) won at the Fifth Pre-Salt Bid Round, Shell increases its total net acreage off the coast of Brazil to approximately 2.7 million acres. Shell will engage with Chevron to define specific plans for exploration drilling in the area won. Shell is a major oil and gas producer in Brazil with a clear strategy to continue developing an industry-leading portfolio of pre-salt acreage. Read More

ExxonMobil has increased its holdings in Brazil’s pre-salt basins after it won the Tita exploration block with co-venturer Qatar Petroleum during Brazil’s 5th pre-salt bid round. The block awarded added more than 71,500 net acres to the ExxonMobil portfolio, expanding the company’s total position in the country to approximately 2.3 million net acres. Equity interest in the block will be 64 percent for ExxonMobil and 36 percent for Qatar Petroleum. ExxonMobil will be the operator. Through the remainder of 2018 and into 2019, ExxonMobil will continue to obtain 3-D seismic coverage, as well as continue to progress work on regulatory requirements for exploration drilling by 2020. Read More