The twenty first meeting of the GPRA

November 6, 2016

The twenty first meeting of the Global Phenolic Resins Association (GPRA) was held November 3 and 4 in Hong Kong. Attendees engaged in a lively discussion regarding Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards within the phenolic resin producing community. The group also enjoyed presentations about methanol, carbores, rupture disc use for batch reactor safety and heightened challenges that are being faced by the phenolic resin producers. In addition, the group heard reports about new emission standards going into place in China, the economic status in various regions of the world, the raw material trends in the phenolic resin industry and the current state of formaldehyde and methanol regulations around the world.

The group heard a report on some of the new challenges facing the industry including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) encouraging builders to avoid the use of materials that use formaldehyde as an ingredient. The GPRA members were concerned that this approach could cause a deselection of phenolic resins despite the fact that the phenolic resins produced by GPRA members are safe and effective products. The group decided to pursue a path of providing educational materials for GPRA members to use when discussing the safety and value of using phenolic resin products. This effort will be pursued further at the next meeting.

Members gave reports on the increasing regulatory restrictions in Europe and China. This led to a good discussion regarding HSE standards and what minimum level of standards should be required for GPRA membership. The aim of this effort is twofold: 1) to ensure that all GPRA members are operating at a high level of HSE protection and 2) to provide guidance for those non-GPRA phenolic resin producers on the GPRA expectations to help them raise their own levels of protection.

This meeting was held in Hong Kong to allow easier access for Asian phenolic resin manufacturers. The group heard Company updates from all attendees including AICA, Fenolit, Forace Polymers, Hexion, Prefere Resins, SI Group, UCP, Kolon Industries 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. In this meeting, SI Group presented information on the use of rupture discs for batch reactor safety. The GPRA meeting serves as an excellent forum for learning more about safe work practices in phenolic resin facilities.

The group enjoyed a presentation by a special guest speaker, Ms. Wang Xiaoshu from the Methanol Market Services Asia Company. Ms. Wang showed a presentation with great detail on the methanol market in Asia and predictions for the evolution of this market over the next 5 years. Of particular interest was the powerful effect of the Coal to Olefins projects, which coal to methanol and then methanol to olefins, having a huge impact on the methanol-for-chemicals markets. Methanol is the main feedstock for production of formaldehyde which is used in essentially all phenolic resin production.

Also, the group saw presentations about the economic situation in various parts of the world, including several that showed Chinese growth expected to level out at about 6.5% for 2017, the EU at roughly 1.5%, Southeast Asia at about 4.6% and US at about 2.2%. SI Group gave an update on formaldehyde 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 May 11 and 12, 2017 in Shanghai, China. The GPRA Chairmen are Dr. Joerg Talbiersky of UCP Chemicals, representing Europe, William Scheffer of SI Group, representing the Americas and Sang Ho (“Shane”) Lee of Kolon Industries, representing Asia. 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