The eighteenth meeting of the GPRA

June 4, 2015

The eighteenth meeting of the Global Phenolic Resins Association (GPRA) was held June 2 and 3 in Singapore. Attendees enjoyed presentations on many topics impacting the industry, with a particular focus on recent industrial accidents and intellectual property protection in Asia at this meeting. Topics included: Tannin as a possible source of raw material for phenolic resins, European phenolic resin growth by market segment, Intellectual property protection in Asia, a report on dust explosion accident in Kunshan, China, a report of the thermic oil accident in Genk, Belgium, the economic status in various regions of the world, the raw material trends in the phenolic resin industry and the current state of formaldehyde regulations around the world.

This meeting was held in Singapore to allow easier access for Asian phenolic resin manufacturers. The group heard Company updates from all attendees including Hexion, AICA, Prefere Resins, UCP, Kolon Industries, SI Group, Sumitomo Bakelite, CCP (ChangChun Group, a new attendee Company) and the CPRA (Chinese Phenolic Resin Association). The group continues to share presentations relating to current and best practices in Environmental, Health and Safety management within the industry.

The topic of Intellectual Property protection in Asia was of interest to the member Companies, as several have mentioned the difficulties in preventing the piracy of their know how. Denis Berger (a Swiss lawyer working for Eiger Law in Shanghai practicing IP law there) gave a presentation on the subject. An area of recommendation was to have confidentiality agreements in China that are: 1) enforceable within China law, 2) written in Chinese and with Chinese jurisdiction and 3) allow for clear interpretation by a Chinese judge.

Another topic of interest was a description of two recent industrial accidents that have some relationship to the phenolic resin industry. The CPRA provided details about an August 2, 2014 accident involving an aluminum powder dust explosion. This terrible accident killed 146 people and resulted in changes to Chinese rules around dust handling. Specifically all Phenolic Resin dust must be managed according to the new rules immediately with no phase in period.

A second industrial accident occurred on February 14, 2015 in Genk, Belgium. The group heard a detailed account of a thermic oil fire. Important lessons learned were shared with the group including the need for: clear shift-to-shift communication, management involvement in line breaking activities and clear identification of all valves associated with the process. The GPRA meeting serves as an excellent forum for learning more about safe work practices in phenolic resin facilities.

The group saw presentations about the economic situation in various parts of the world, including several that showed Chinese growth at about 7.0% and US growth maintaining its recent 2-3% performance. Latest trends in the key raw materials of phenol, methanol and US shale gas were also discussed. SI Group gave an update on formaldehyde in the media in the US and UCP gave an update of the European formaldehyde regulation changes.

The meetings were held in the presence of the Treuhandbuero, an independent consulting group that ensures that all discussions comply with all national and international laws. All members have signed the anti-trust compliance documents.

The next meeting of the GPRA is scheduled for October 13 and 14 in Taipei. The GPRA Chairmen are Dr. Joerg Talbiersky of UCP Chemicals, representing Europe, William Scheffer of SI Group, representing the Americas and an open position for the Asia Chairman. Membership in the GPRA provides excellent value to its members as the only organization, which allows proper meetings between phenolic resin industry representatives from around the globe.

The Mission of the GPRA is: ‘To enhance the reputation of the global phenolic resins industry with all its stakeholders by highlighting the unique contribution offered to society by these resins and to foster safe management of phenolic resins throughout their lifecycle’

Further information may be found on the GPRA website at Questions or comments related to the GPRA may be sent to:

Dr. Nausch Unternehmensberatung GmbH
– Treuhandbuero –
Hallbergstrasse 5
D-40239 Duesseldorf
Tel.: +49-(0)-211-68 78 940
Fax: +49-(0)-211-68 78 935