On September 9, Evonik Corporation opened its new 20,000 metric ton expansion at its precipitated silica plant in Chester, Pennsylvania. The project is part of a multi-year program whereby Evonik will increase its global silica capacity by 30%, including projects in Europe, Asia, Brazil, and the US. The new capacity will be targeted at the tire, food, animal feed, and other industries.
September 11, 2014
September 8, 2014
Notch Consulting has received word that the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), a unit of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has resumed limited production of carbon black at a production unit located at its refinery in Warri, Nigeria. This carbon black plant has been shut down in recent years and operated sporadically for at least a decade. Notch has its nameplate capacity listed at 18,000 tonnes per year. In addition to the carbon black unit, the entire Warri refinery has operated erratically in recent years due to financial problems, lack of proper maintenance, and persistent attacks on pipelines by oil thieves. According to this article from August, the refinery saw its supply of crude oil cut off in August for unexplained reasons.
A source that pleaded anonymity told LEADERSHIP Friday, “PPMC [Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, another subsidiary of NNPC] has cut off crude oil supply to Warri Refinery in the past two weeks. We don’t know the reason for the action from official quarters but information going round indicated that the order came from the above. The report available to the workers showed that the authorities in Abuja asked the PPMC to stop further supply of crude oil to WRPC because the plant is operating at a loss.
A local source told Notch that the refinery was shut down due to a leak in a production line, and that repairs were being initiated. According to this source, the refinery is expected to begin production again in November, at which time the carbon black plant will be restarted with output of about 1,000 tonnes per month of N330 grade.
Carbon black from the unit is being marketed by a company called Intercity Petroleum. Here is a spec sheet on the product. Interested parties should contact the seller directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, Evonik Industries announced plans to expand its capacity for specialty silicas in Ako, Japan, where the company operates through a joint venture, DSL Japan Co. Ltd. Evonik holds 51% of the venture, with Japan’s Shionogi & Co. Ltd. holding the remainder. The expansion project is budgeted in the “single-digit million euro range” and is scheduled to become operational in 2015. The company did not announce a specific capacity for the plant or the expansion, but the project will increase capacity for SIPERNAT brand silicas used in batteries, silicones, engineered rubber goods, and coatings. This project is one part of a global expansion plan for silica that Evonik has been implementing for several years, including a 30% increase in global capacity from 2010 to 2014, according to the company. Evonik is expanding silica capacity at a plant in Chester, PA in 2014, and a new plant in Brazil is scheduled for start-up in 2016. Evonik’s global capacity for precipitated silica, fumed silica, and matting agents was 550,000 metric tons in 2014.
August 27, 2014
Cancarb Limited announced today that it has appointed Özzsahin Sun’Í Kösele Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S. as its Turkish distributor of Thermax® medium thermal carbon blacks effective September 1, 2014. Previously Cancarb’s Turkish distributor for more than 25 years was Teknik Servis, owned and operated by semi-retiring co-founders Tugrul Sirel and Metin Tüfekcioglu. “Ozsahin brings to the table over 70 years of experience in the rubber industry,” said Dave Petrie, President of Cancarb. “This wealth of knowledge coupled with the support of key personnel from Cancarb’s previous distributor Teknik Servis Ltd. will assure a smooth transition and allow us to continue to provide the premium customer experience to which our customers are accustomed.”
In April 2014, Japanese carbon black company Tokai Carbon completed an acquisition of Cancarb Limited.
August 26, 2014
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports survey results indicating that the majority of teens do not know how to change a tire, let alone basic tire maintenance.
A new survey, released Tuesday, finds 52% of U.S. teens ranging from 15 to 17 years old don’t know how to replace a tire. A total of 44% don’t know how to examine the tire tread depth and 32% can’t figure out how to check tire pressure.
Notch Consulting published a report earlier this year that focused on the ongoing trend to eliminate the spare tire from many new cars, as well as the systems that will replace them. Information on this report, Prospects for Extended Mobility Systems: Run-Flat Tires, Tire Repair Kits & Self-Sealing Tires in OEM Passenger Car Markets, is available here.
August 25, 2014
Having successfully concluded its initial public offering, Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. is using the cash to repaying a shareholder loan and refinance its debt. In the offering, which began July 25 and closed July 30, Orion floated 19.5 million common shares at $18 per share. Shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol OEC. Following the offering, Orion is owned by Kinove Luxembourg Holdings 1 S.a.r.l. (57.3%), public shareholders (about 32.7%), and management (about 10%). Rhone Capital L.L.C. and Triton Advisors Ltd. are Orion’s largest investors, together holding more than 50% of the firm, according to Charles Herlinger, Orion’s CFO. According to an article in Rubber & Plastics News, about €200 million ($267.6 million) of the proceeds will repay a shareholder loan in full. The IPO also will allow Orion to refinance its debt down from more than 10% to about 4-5%.
Rubber & Plastics News reports that the US International Trade Commission has moved into the final phase of its investigation into potential dumping of Chinese passenger car and light truck tires into the United States. On August 21, the ITC announced a finding that the US tire industry has been “materially injured or threatened with material injury” due to the imports. Based on the finding, the ITC may impose countervailing and/or anti-dumping duties on Chinese tires and/or against individual Chinese tire makers. The US Department of Commerce began its investigation on July 21, 2014 in response to petitions submitted to the ITC on June 3 by the United Steelworkers union. The Obama administration previously imposed import tariffs against Chinese tire tires in September 2009, but the higher duties were allowed to expire in September 2012.
August 7, 2014
On July 29, Omsk Carbon Group held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new carbon black plant being built in the Mogilev Free Economic Zone, Belarus. The project was first announced in February 2013, and Omsk spent the ensuing 18 months doing design work and obtaining the necessary governmental approvals. The new plant will employ 450 workers and will have 120,000 tonnes/year of capacity at start-up in 2017, expandable to 200,000 t/y at a later date. The cost is Euro 85 million (RUB 4 bn). The factory will supply customers in Europe and Belarus. Omsk Carbon Group is the largest producer of carbon black in Russia and Eastern Europe, with plants in Omsk and Volgograd.
August 1, 2014
A series of powerful gas explosions hit the southern Taiwan city of Kaohsiung late Thursday, killing at least 24 people and injuring up to 271. The blasts were concentrated in the Cianjhen district, and were believed to be triggered by gas (possibly propylene) leaking from underground pipelines.
Update: Here is an astounding compilation of videos of the event and aftermath. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Taiwan.
July 22, 2014
Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) plans to build a plant to produce highly dispersible precipitated silica in São Paulo, Brazil by 2016. The new factory is budgeted in the mid-double-digit million euro range. Highly dispersible silica (HDS) is used mainly for high-quality low rolling resistance tires. The plant also will service South America’s food, animal feed, and agricultural industries.
Dr. Johannes Ohmer, head of Evonik’s Inorganic Materials Business Unit, said: “The new plant in Americana will enable us to offer our Brazilian and regional customers high-quality silicas from local production in combination with our outstanding services.”
According to Evonik, the market for low rolling resistance tires and, consequently, for HD silicas, has been growing much stronger than the market for conventional tires in South America. Evonik expects additional demand due to a planned tire labeling program for fuel efficiency for passenger car tires in Brazil. Evonik is the only company in the world that offers both HDS and silane coupling agents, which are used to improve the dispersion and processing of silica in the compound.
Evonik is expanding its silica capacities throughout the world: By the end of 2014 alone, they will have grown by around 30 percent compared to 2010. In Chester, Pennsylvania, a plant for precipitated silica with an annual capacity of about 20,000 metric tons is scheduled to begin operations in 2014. The expansion in North and South America follows expansions that have already been completed in Europe and Asia.
In addition to precipitated silica, Evonik Industries produces Aerosil fumed silica and Acematt silica-based matting agents. Evonik has a worldwide capacity of about 550,000 metric tons per year for precipitated silica, fumed silica, and matting agents together.