Global caustic soda market to undergo major changes over next decade, as new laws emerge mandating conversion of chlor-alkali facilities from old mercury technology to more advanced membrane technology

NEW YORK , February 19, 2013 () – The world caustic soda market will undergo major changes over the next decade with new laws mandating the conversion of chlor-alkali facilities from the old mercury technology to the more advanced membrane technology in 140 countries. Countries that signed the United Nation Environmental Program's (UNEP) Mercury Convention agreed to phase out mercury cells, utilized in making chlorine, caustic soda and other chlor-alkali products, by 2025. The European Union is an exception because the deadline for the region is 2020. In Europe, 42 mercury-based chlorine facilities will require conversion to a non-mercury process. The conversion is estimated to cost a total of more than EUR 3 bn ($4 bn). The closure of these plants will not have a major impact on the global markets if done progressively. Additionally, the market will remain balanced with several new plants starting up online in 2013 and in the run-up to 2025. A line graph shows caustic soda (liquid) prices in the USA and Asia in Feb 2012-Feb 2013. A table presents a list of chlor-alkali capacity additions in 2013. Original Source: ICIS Chemical Business, http://www.icis.com/, Copyright Reed Business Information Limited 2013.

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