Arkema Press Release Regarding Crosby, TX Plant

Read below for a press release from Arkema, Inc. posted on 8/31/2017:

At approximately 2 a.m. CDT, we were notified by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of two explosions and black smoke coming from the Arkema Inc. plant in Crosby, Texas. Local officials had previously established an evacuation zone in an area 1.5 miles from our plant, based on their assessment of the situation.

We continue to work closely with federal, state and local authorities to manage the situation.

As we communicated in recent days, our site followed its hurricane preparation plan in advance of the recent hurricane and we had redundant contingency plans in place. However, unprecedented flooding overwhelmed our primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we lost critical refrigeration of the products on site. Some of our organic peroxides products burn if not stored at low temperature.

We have been working closely with public officials to manage the implications of this situation, and have communicated with the public the potential for product to explode and cause an intense fire. Organic peroxides are extremely flammable and, as agreed with public officials, the best course of action is to let the fire burn itself out.

We want local residents to be aware that product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains. Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so.

Organic peroxides are a family of compounds that are used in a wide range of applications, such as making pharmaceuticals and construction materials.

Diving For Pearls

EVONIK SPREADS NETS FOR ADDITIVES GEMS

By Lisa Tocci
Publised in December 2016 Issue of Lubes'N'Greases

Pry open enough oysters, and you might find a random pearl. To succeed at it on a commercial scale, you need to amass the right insights, tools and talents for the hunt.


The same idea applies when seeking novel lubricant chemistries, feels Ralf Duessel, Ph.D., senior vice president and managing director of Evonik’s Oil Additives business, based in Darmstadt, Germany. Whole strings of additive pearls could be tucked into the recesses of the global chemicals—industry including in parent company Evonik Industries—and it’s his job to strategically deploy the resources and tools to exploit them.


One tool is nearing completion now in Darmstadt: an advanced research laboratory to uncover gems and polish them for the market. The new Friction and Motion Competence Centre, nicknamed FriMO, is expected to be fully operational in first-quarter 2017, Lubes’n’Greases heard during a mid­September visit to the construction site.


Unlike Darmstadt’s existing product performance and customer service labs, FriMo will focus on mid- and long-range developments. Oil Additives also expects it to be a platform for collaborating with other segments of Evonik Industries, a publicly traded specialty chemical company with 2015 revenues of 13.5 billion euros, 18.2 percent profitability and more than 33,500 employees.


“Although Evonik has 22 business lines, they are organized into three operating segments: Nutrition and Care, Performance Materials and Resource Efficiency, which includes Oil Additives,” explained Duessel, a chemical engineer who was recruited out of university by Evonik 20 years ago and named head of Oil Additives in early 2013. “Oil Additives is the largest business within Evonik that is selling into lubes. However, there are a lot of areas in Evonik that can be tapped for lubricant thinking, and that’s why we established the Friction and Motion Competence Centre and are building this dedicated laboratory.”


Other business lines in Evonik’s Resource Efficiency segment include coatings (which has defoamers, resins, binders and surfactants), cross-linkers, high performance polymers, and metal oxides such as silanes and silica. Each may hold concepts and produces that could be useful in lubricants, but interactions with Oil Additives were infrequent until now.


The missing link “was the resources that need to be dedicated to making such ideas come to reality,” said Stephan Fengler, Oil Additives’ vice president of innovation management. A Ph.D. chemical engineer, he took charge of innovation for oil additives, polymers, coatings and adhesives in 2012.


“Today our technology is focused on bulk fluid, but the issue increasingly is friction and wear,” he continued. “Where exactly does wear happen? It’s at the interface of the materials and the lubricant, and FriMo is bringing us to that interface. The next stage will be to look at the whole system of moving parts, materials, surfaces and lubrication,” rather than primarily focusing on viscometric effects.


Based on internal estimates and data from consultancy Kline and Co., Duessel pegs the value of the world’s lubricants market at 90 billion euros. Additive suppliers account for about 13 billion of this, including 2.1 billion euros of viscosity index Improvers and pour point depressants, the two leading areas for Evonik’s Oil Additives business.


“The lube market worldwide is growing maybe 1 percent a year, but we believe there is higher demand growth for additives,” Duessel said. “Each time a GF-specification or ACEA specification for engine oils increases, the demand for additives increases. The industry may sell less oil overall, but more additives are in there.”


Various consultants rank Evonik as the fifth or sixth largest company supplying lubricant additives, right after the top four additive package suppliers. Those four, who Kline reckons share about 75 percent of the global market, include Afton Chemical, Chevron Oronite, Infineum and Lubrizol.


Unlike them, Evonik plays in the area of specialized components, not formulated packages. In this its nearest rivals are probably Chemtura and BASF. Chemtura is being acquired by Lanxess and folded into its Rhein Chemie subsidiary to create an antioxidant powerhouse, but that seems unlikely to challenge Evonik’s footing in V.l. improvers and pour point depressants.


Senior Scientist Stefan Maier elaborated: “The key features we sell (and most of our products have at least one of these) are dispersancy, pour point which essentially means preventing wax crystals from growing and gelling in the oil—and V.I. effects. All come from our understanding of monomers and how to use them to build up useful polymer chains.” High viscosity base fluids are also part of the arsenal.


Other V.I. chemistries exist, mostly based on hydrocarbons like styrene­diene and ethylene-propylene copolymers, Maier said. “But it’s very important co be able to control the distribution of chain lengths and molecular weights, and that’s what enables us to create things like a polymer comb structure and others.”


Evonik is the successor to a long history of companies and brands, he reminded, and the company’s polymer chemistries have their roots in methacrylic acid (MMA, the monomer invented by Otto Rohm in the 1920s from which Plexiglas is made). Predecessors like Rohm and Haas in Germany and Rohm US spearheaded the use of poly alkylmethacrylates (PMAs) as V.I. improvers and pour point depressants in the 1940s, and followed up with dispersant PMAs in the 1960s.


Oil Additives’ sales now are split roughly evenly among the Americas, EMEA and Asia. It has five production sites (Darmstadt; Morrisburg, Canada; Houston; Lauterbourg, France; and Singapore), and plans to add a process unit in Weiterstadt, Germany, to make comb-type polymers. Major R&D facilities are in Darmstadt, Horsham, Pennsylvania, and Tsukuba, Japan, while a product development lab in Shanghai supports customers in China.


“Generally, you have to admit that lubricants is not a sexy market, if you just look at growth rates alone,” commented Ralf Duessel. “But our main competency is in the V.I. improver market, and that’s about a 2 billion euro market annually.


“The lube additives market overall is forecast to grow one to two percent a year,” which is twice the rate of the overall lubes market, he continued. “But we see the potential for higher growth, especially where energy savings is the driver and we can show a performance advantage, such as with Nuflux [base stocks] for wind power and general industrial gearboxes, and our Dynavis technology.” (The latter is a proprietary specification for higher performing hydraulic fluids; it revolves around the benefits of using high V.I. fluids.)


Duessel likens the business’s growth strategy to a triangle: One facet involves creating demand for lubricant customers’ products by working with OEMs on technical advances and approvals; another is broadening the scope of current products; and the third is investing in plants, technology and people. “Everything can fit into the triangle,” he declared, “but it takes time. The approach we’ve used with Dynavis can take six to eight years to bear fruit. We spent that time going to trade shows, conducting field trials and supplying sales support to show the performance gains. We don’t talk with OEMs and customers about chemistry, but about efficiency and performance.”


About 10 years ago, related Stephan Fengler, Evonik set out to create an innovative space for its various R&D groups to connect their polymer knowledge, while keeping product develop merit front-of-mind. That effort led to the creation of “competence centres,” which can bring in technologies from other sides of the company. The FriMo Competence Centre, for example, focuses on friction reduction and machinery endurance.


“Step one was to look at what technical competencies we have in our groups,” Fengler said. “Doing that, we identified six key technologies that cover 80 percent of our operating business segment.” These are polymers, “interfacial technologies” (i.e., emulsifiers and dispersants that attach and impart surface properties); coating and bonding adhesives (which involve surface film formation); biotechnology; catalytic effects; and inorganic particle design.


After tracing the parallels among the competencies, the next steps were to set priorities, fund and invest, and deliver resources that can result in new products. “Now we can use those networks to bring people together, to find solutions for our business lines,” said Fengler. “So at Oil Additives, we’ll be going beyond polymers alone.”


It may sound ivory-tower, but it’s grounded in pragmatism, Duessel indicated. “At the end of the day, products need to be marketed and supplied.”


FriMo Competence Centre head Guenter Schmitt, who has responsibility for its creative pipeline, finds the challenge energizing. “I love chemistry and love getting to transfer that knowledge into products,” he said with contagious enthusiasm. Schmitt joined Evonik in 1990 as a paper technology chemist, worked as commercial manager for road-marking additives, moved into coatings and adhesives, and then took up his current role at Oil Additives in January 2016.


Rather than look at polymers alone, he said, FriMo’s scientists will examine fluid systems and surface designs. “Energy losses through friction are enormous,” Schmitt said. “About 15 to 20 percent of the energy used each year goes just to overcome friction. So there’s great need for products that can reduce that energy loss.


“Fluid systems may mean new additives, not just polymers. Nanoparticles could give wonderful effects, so we’re asking if there is something that is really comparable to current fluids. Surface design may come up with new processes to create fluids, perhaps a balance between adhering and surface films. And nanoparticles are already in our sights, as we’re researching a family of nanoparticles made by our sister company in Hanau, Germany.”


Schmitt also plays ambassador to other Resource Efficiency business lines, to prod their interest. “Internally, we’re talking intensely with our colleagues in polymers, in silanes (which are mostly sold now into coatings), in coating additives and in inorganic particles. We’re going across business lines to find what may have potential as oil additives.


“The motivation for these businesses to participate is that we are visible to the market as Friction and Motion,” Schmitt continued. “So if we develop something together, they’ll get sales into a new market for them, I feel there’s a lot of motivation to move to this kind of system thinking. It’s not only about the technology they have, but about how to bring it to the right commercial application. We need to find that focus on where a business opportunity exists, and then go after it together.”


While FriMo is generating a buzz right now, Evonik has additional growth initiatives underway. One is the Evonik Venture Capital Group, which is investing more than 100 million euros in new ventures such as the bio-derived base stock manufacturers Bio-Synthetic Technologies and Algal Scientific.


“Nano is another strong area, although right now it’s another tool, not a full replacement for lubrication,” Duessel said. “We also see the base oil demand shifting from API Group I to II and Ill, which isn’t always beneficial. Group II and III don’t have the same synergies for making greases and metalworking fluids, for example, so there may be an opportunity to solve that issue.”


Hypothetically, Evonik could acquire other additive companies, as well. “It would need to be a company that is strong in specialized technology for oil additives, and not a producer of commodity products like detergent-inhibitors,” Duessel mused.


Meanwhile, FriMo is priming the pump with ideas and concepts. For example, a patent has already been filed on a new and very stable way to disperse metal oxides in oil. Will successes like that have Evonik’s other businesses knocking on Oil Additives door?


“First, we have to convince the other business units there will be future business and sales,” Duessel said. “They are going to be driven by potential. We cannot put a return yet on FriMo, but we can on specific projects—and if we are the route to market, they’ll be happy to join in.”

Chemical Distribution Dynamics May Drive Consolidation

09 September 2016 16:53 Source:ICIS News


BOSTON (ICIS)--Shifting dynamics in chemical distribution will drive further consolidation in the sector, a senior executive from Brenntag said on Friday.

“It is still a highly fragmented market with huge opportunities for consolidation,” said Robert Moser, senior vice president of global accounts and director of government affairs at Brenntag, the world’s leading chemical distributor.

Moser spoke at the 9th ICIS World Chemical Purchasing Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

The top 10% of the over 240 chemical distributors listed in the ICIS Top 100 Chemical Distributors ranking represent about $52bn in annual sales, or less than one-third of the global market, he noted.

The emergence of large chemical distributors as publicly traded companies is impacting market behaviour, said Moser.

From zero publicly traded companies five years ago, today Brenntag, Univar, Nexeo Solutions and IMCD are all public, he pointed out.

“One impact of this is that companies are making acquisitions in less volatile markets to broaden their portfolios and take some of the risk out,” said Moser.

On 9 September, Brenntag made its third acquisition of a lubricants distributor in the past year, buying US-based Mayes County Petroleum Products.

The second largest global distributor, Univar, has made a number of acquisitions in waste and environmental services over the past year.

Overall barriers to entry in chemical distribution are increasing with significant demands from regulatory authorities in areas such as new build installations. This will increase capital spending over time and drive consolidation, said Moser.

“Market demands will force further consolidation and specialised services. You can be big or a niche specialised distributor, but it’s challenging to be mid-sized,” he said.

Another advantage of size is the ability to influence suppliers. “Larger distributors can move more volumes so they have leverage with multiple suppliers,” said Moser.

“Many distributors are larger than their producer partners. Thus, pricing management and control is less producer directed and more market relevant,” he added.

Allnex and Nuplex are Now Officially Combined

 

Brussels, Belgium / September 14 2016 – Allnex, a leading international supplier of resins backed by investor Advent International, today announced that Nuplex Industries, a global manufacturer of resins, and Allnex have now been brought together to form one company. The group, present on four continents and serving customers in over 100 countries, becomes the leading industrial coating resins company globally.


The company will operate under the name of Allnex and is today launching a new logo that is a symbolic representation of the combined strengths of Nuplex and Allnex. It will now draw on the expertise and scope of both Nuplex and Allnex, two companies that both have a history of commitment to innovation and engagement with customers, as well as complementary geographical footprints. They also share similar corporate values and a global outlook.


Miguel Mantas, the new CEO of Allnex, commented, ‘I am delighted that this business combination has taken place. With our comprehensive, state-of-the-art technology portfolio, our ability to provide clients with the right chemistry for their products is even more extensive than before. I am also looking forward to moving our corporate headquarters to Frankfurt. The decision to choose Frankfurt for the future company’s headquarters was taken with the intention of establishing a new location, symbolizing a fresh start for the company. Frankfurt offers excellent flight, rail and car connections. The city is located in the heart of Europe and Germany, the largest European economy and a key market for the company and for the coatings industry in general.’


The Chairman of the Allnex Advisory Committee, Rich Alexander, said, ‘I am particularly enthusiastic about the modernized branding and new logo of our company. It unites the visual identities of both companies and embodies our commitment to taking the best elements from both Allnex and Nuplex.’


Ron Ayles, a Managing Partner at Advent International and head of the firm’s global chemicals practice, said, ‘the combined company will be a strong global leader in industrial coating resins, with over 30 manufacturing sites and about two dozen research and technology support facilities. This puts us in an excellent position to consolidate current markets and develop new ones.’

 

About Allnex
Allnex, formerly Cytec Industries' Coating Resins business and acquired by Advent in 2013, is a leading global producer of coating resins and additives for architectural, industrial, protective, automotive and special purpose coatings and inks. Allnex is recognized as a specialty chemicals pioneer and offers an extensive range of products including innovative liquid resins and additives, radiation cured and powder coating resins & additives and cross linkers for use on wood, metal, plastic, and other surfaces.

 

About Advent International
Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the largest and most experienced global private equity firms and a leading investor in the global Chemicals industry. Advent's investment philosophy is centred on supporting leading management teams and providing resources for further growth in order to execute on a mutually developed strategy and investment case. To date, Advent has raised cumulative capital of US$53 billion and has executed over 310 transactions including over 30 investments in the Chemicals industry. Advent has a strong track record of making significant and successful investments, with recent chemicals transactions including Allnex (formerly Cytec Industries' Coating Resins business), Oxea, Maxam, Viakem and Grupo Transmerquim. Advent also has extensive experience in conducting Public-to-Private transactions, with recent examples including Douglas, Mediq and Unit 4.