Chemicals
Top stories summarized by our editors
2/26/2020

Many chemical companies continue to operate facilities in China amid the coronavirus outbreak, although some are running at reduced rates. DuPont and Linde are producing products to help cope with the spread of the virus, while Covestro CEO Markus Steilemann says the company is facing logistical challenges in the country.

2/25/2020

Mergers and acquisitions fail because leaders focus more on numbers and synergies than how deals affect employees, writes Alaina Love, who describes a client of hers. "How cultures and processes are integrated, how politics and power play out, and how employees feel about their daily work experience will determine the ultimate impact of the acquisition or merger," she writes.

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SmartBrief/Leadership
2/25/2020

On Feb. 10, the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator signed a proposed rule to not impose financial responsibility requirements for facilities in the chemical manufacturing industry under CERCLA Section 108(b). The American Chemistry Council welcomed the move, saying it's "pleased that EPA does not intend to pursue duplicative new regulations that would increase costs for chemical manufacturers without environmental benefit. Federal and state programs, along with modern operating procedures, have significantly reduced the risk of taxpayer-funded cleanup efforts."

2/25/2020

A bill under consideration in the Connecticut General Assembly that would enact a "ban on the sale and use of polystyrene foam is unlikely to be effective in addressing litter," said the American Chemistry Council in written testimony. "ACC strongly supports reduction in marine litter and waste, but this legislation will not accomplish that objective, because it fails to recognize that litter and improper waste management are independent of material type," it said.

2/25/2020

Uncertainty created by the coronavirus is disrupting internal logistics in China, weakening domestic demand and interrupting global trade flows as companies cancel or re-route shipments going in and out of the country, writes Morgan Condon. "Around 1.5m tonnes of [polyethylene] demand may be lost from the coronavirus outbreak if it can be controlled and downstream industries resume operations at a 70-80% rate by the second half of March," said Amy Yu of ICIS Asia Petrochemical Analytics.

2/25/2020

The launch of Sasol's low-density polyethylene unit at Lake Charles Chemical Project in Louisiana was delayed due to a fire in January, but the company expects to bring it online in the second half of this year. The unit will be able to produce 420,000 metric tons of LDPE annually.

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Sasol
2/25/2020

BASF met its 2021 goal to have 22% to 24% of leadership roles held by women in 2019 and has now increased its goal to 30% by 2030. The shift will help BASF become a more attractive employer and incorporate new perspectives that will lead to more innovation and better solutions for customers, said executive Martin Brudermuller.

2/24/2020

Turn down requests you can't meet by asking for more time, delegating the tasks or making it clear what other priorities you're committed to, writes Ken Downer. If a superior asks for help, be clear that other projects may be delayed while you take care of the request, he writes.

2/24/2020

The Environmental Protection Agency, Labor Department and other agencies are on track to meet Friday's deadline to make all regulatory guidance available on public websites, per an October executive order from President Donald Trump. Agencies separately have until late June to make updates for past documents.

2/24/2020

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a draft risk review of trichloroethylene under the Toxic Substance Control Act that says certain uses of the solvent may pose an unreasonable risk for workers and other parties, but not for the environment. The evaluation will be peer-reviewed, and a 60-day public-comment period is forthcoming.