Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2015



        We are subject to extensive federal, state, local and international laws, regulations, rules and ordinances relating to safety, pollution, protection of the environment, product management and distribution, and the generation, storage, handling, transportation, treatment, disposal and remediation of hazardous substances and waste materials. In the ordinary course of business, we are subject to frequent environmental inspections and monitoring and occasional investigations by governmental enforcement authorities. In addition, our production facilities require operating permits that are subject to renewal, modification and, in certain circumstances, revocation. Actual or alleged violations of safety laws, environmental laws or permit requirements could result in restrictions or prohibitions on plant operations or product distribution, substantial civil or criminal sanctions, as well as, under some environmental laws, the assessment of strict liability and/or joint and several liability. Moreover, changes in environmental regulations could inhibit or interrupt our operations, or require us to modify our facilities or operations. Accordingly, environmental or regulatory matters may cause us to incur significant unanticipated losses, costs or liabilities.

Environmental, Health and Safety Systems

        We are committed to achieving and maintaining compliance with all applicable environmental, health and safety ("EHS") legal requirements, and we have developed policies and management systems that are intended to identify the multitude of EHS legal requirements applicable to our operations, enhance compliance with applicable legal requirements, improve the safety of our employees, contractors, community neighbors and customers and minimize the production and emission of wastes and other pollutants. Although EHS legal requirements are constantly changing and are frequently difficult to comply with, these EHS management systems are designed to assist us in our compliance goals while also fostering efficiency and improvement and reducing overall risk to us.

EHS Capital Expenditures

        We may incur future costs for capital improvements and general compliance under EHS laws, including costs to acquire, maintain and repair pollution control equipment. For the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, our capital expenditures for EHS matters totaled $26 million and $17 million, respectively. Because capital expenditures for these matters are subject to evolving regulatory requirements and depend, in part, on the timing, promulgation and enforcement of specific requirements, our capital expenditures for EHS matters have varied significantly from year to year and we cannot provide assurance that our recent expenditures are indicative of future amounts we may spend related to EHS and other applicable laws.

        We have incurred, and we may in the future incur, liability to investigate and clean up waste or contamination at our current or former facilities or facilities operated by third parties at which we may have disposed of waste or other materials. Similarly, we may incur costs for the cleanup of waste that was disposed of prior to the purchase of our businesses. Under some circumstances, the scope of our liability may extend to damages to natural resources.

        Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") and similar state laws, a current or former owner or operator of real property in the U.S. may be liable for remediation costs regardless of whether the release or disposal of hazardous substances was in compliance with law at the time it occurred, and a current owner or operator may be liable regardless of whether it owned or operated the facility at the time of the release. Outside the U.S., analogous contaminated property laws, such as those in effect in France and Australia, can hold past owners and/or operators liable for remediation at former facilities. Currently, there are approximately 10 former facilities or third-party sites in the U.S. for which we have been notified of potential claims against us for cleanup liabilities, including, but not limited to, sites listed under CERCLA. Based on current information and past experiences at other CERCLA sites, we do not expect these third-party claims to have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.

        One of these sites, the North Maybe Canyon Mine site, involves a former phosphorous mine near Soda Springs, Idaho, which is believed to have been operated by several companies, including a predecessor company to us. In 2004, the U.S. Forest Service notified us that we are a CERCLA potentially responsible party ("PRP") for contamination originating from the site. In February 2010, we and Wells Cargo (another PRP) agreed to conduct a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study of a portion of the site and are currently engaged in that process. At this time, we are unable to reasonably estimate our potential liabilities at this site.

        Another of these sites, the Star Lake Canal site in Port Neches, TX, involves a discharge point for manufacturing facilities owned by us and several other local chemical manufacturers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA") issued a draft Consent Decree related to cleanup at this site to us and a prior owner in September 2014. The prior owner has an indemnification obligation and has accepted defense of this matter. As of March 31, 2015, we had an accrued liability of approximately $18 million relating to this matter and a corresponding receivable of approximately $18 million relating to our indemnity protection.

        In addition, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA") in the U.S. and similar state laws, we may be required to remediate contamination originating from our properties as a condition to our hazardous waste permit. Some of our manufacturing sites have an extended history of industrial chemical manufacturing and use, including on-site waste disposal. We are aware of soil, groundwater or surface contamination from past operations at some of our sites, and we may find contamination at other sites in the future. For example, our Port Neches, Texas, and Geismar, Louisiana, facilities are the subject of ongoing remediation requirements imposed under RCRA. Similar laws exist in a number of locations in which we currently operate, or previously operated, manufacturing facilities, such as Australia, India, France, Hungary and Italy.

        By letter dated March 7, 2006, our former Base Chemicals and Polymers facility in West Footscray, Australia was issued a cleanup notice by the Environmental Protection Authority Victoria ("EPA Victoria") due to concerns about soil and groundwater contamination emanating from the site. On August 23, 2010, EPA Victoria revoked a second cleanup notice and issued a revised notice that included a requirement for financial assurance for the remediation. As of March 31, 2015, we had an accrued liability of approximately $19 million related to estimated environmental remediation costs at this site. We can provide no assurance that the authority will not seek to institute additional requirements for the site or that additional costs will not be required for the cleanup.

        In many cases, our potential liability arising from historical contamination is based on operations and other events occurring prior to our ownership of a business or specific facility. In these situations, we frequently obtained an indemnity agreement from the prior owner addressing remediation liabilities arising from pre-closing conditions. We have successfully exercised our rights under these contractual covenants for a number of sites and, where applicable, mitigated our ultimate remediation liability. We cannot assure you, however, that the liabilities for all such matters subject to indemnity will be honored by the prior owner or that our existing indemnities will be sufficient to cover our liabilities for such matters.

        Based on available information and the indemnification rights we believe are likely to be available, we believe that the costs to investigate and remediate known contamination will not have a material effect on our financial statements. However, if such indemnities are not honored or do not fully cover the costs of investigation and remediation or we are required to contribute to such costs, then such expenditures may have a material effect on our financial statements. At the current time, we are unable to estimate the total cost, exclusive of indemnification benefits, to remediate any of the known contamination sites.


        We have accrued liabilities relating to anticipated environmental cleanup obligations, site reclamation and closure costs and known penalties. Liabilities are recorded when potential liabilities are either known or considered probable and can be reasonably estimated. Our liability estimates are calculated using present value techniques as appropriate and are based upon requirements placed upon us by regulators, available facts, existing technology and past experience. The environmental liabilities do not include amounts recorded as asset retirement obligations. We had accrued $57 million and $60 million for environmental liabilities as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, respectively. Of these amounts, $6 million and $7 million were classified as accrued liabilities in our condensed consolidated balance sheets as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 (unaudited), respectively, and $51 million and $53 million were classified as other noncurrent liabilities in our condensed consolidated balance sheets as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014 (unaudited), respectively. In certain cases, our remediation liabilities may be payable over periods of up to 30 years. We may incur losses for environmental remediation in excess of the amounts accrued; however, we are not able to estimate the amount or range of such potential excess.

        On October 1, 2014, the Company completed the Rockwood Acquisition. The properties involved in the transaction are located primarily in China, Finland, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the U.S., and include both owned and leased sites. The existence of soil and groundwater contamination from historical industrial operations is known to exist at some of these new properties. As of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, these newly acquired businesses had accrued $16 million and $17 million, respectively, for environmental liabilities (including remediations, investigations, groundwater monitoring, and reclamation obligations associated with landfill operations), which are included within the accrued environmental liabilities disclosed above. Of these amounts $3 million for each was classified as accrued liabilities and $13 million and $14 million was classified as other noncurrent liabilities, respectively. In certain cases, these remediation liabilities may be payable over periods of up to 30 years. The Company is currently evaluating these new reserve amounts in relation to similar reserves recorded by the Company in the past, as well as within the context of the terms of the acquisition agreements. Pursuant to the agreements related to the Rockwood Acquisition, Rockwood has agreed to indemnify us for certain environmental matters.


        The European Union regulatory framework for chemicals, called "REACH," became effective in 2007 and is designed to be phased in gradually over 11 years. As a REACH-regulated company that manufactures in or imports more than one metric ton per year of a chemical substance into the European Economic Area, we were required to pre-register with the European Chemicals Agency such chemical substances and isolated intermediates to take advantage of the 11 year phase-in period. To meet our compliance obligations, a cross-business REACH team was established, through which we were able to fulfill all required pre-registrations, our first phase registrations by the November 30, 2010 deadline and our second phase registrations by the May 31, 2013 deadline. While we continue our registration efforts to meet the next registration deadline of May 31, 2018, our REACH implementation team is now strategically focused on the evaluation and authorization phases of the REACH process, directing its efforts to address "Substances of Very High Concern" and evaluating potential business implications. Where warranted, evaluation of substitute chemicals will be an important element of our ongoing manufacturing sustainability efforts. As a chemical manufacturer with global operations, we are also actively monitoring and addressing analogous regulatory regimes being considered or implemented outside of the European Union, such as in Korea and Taiwan.

        Although the total long-term cost for REACH compliance is unknown at this time, we spent approximately $5 million, $4 million and $8 million in 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively, to meet the initial REACH requirements. We cannot provide assurance that these recent expenditures are indicative of future amounts that we may be required to spend for REACH compliance.


        Globally, our operations are increasingly subject to regulations that seek to reduce emissions of "greenhouse gases" ("GHGs"), such as carbon dioxide and methane, which may be contributing to changes in the earth's climate. At the Durban negotiations of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, a limited group of nations, including the European Union, agreed to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that provides for reductions in GHG emissions. More significantly, the European Union GHG Emissions Trading System, established pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce GHG emissions in the European Union, continues in its third phase. The European Union parliament continues with a process to formalized "backloading"—the withholding of GHG allowances to prop up carbon prices. In addition, the European Union has recently announced its intentions to cut GHG emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2040 and impose a 27% renewable energy requirement at the European Union level. In the U.S., California has commenced the first compliance period of its cap-and-trade program. In June 2013, China implemented its first pilot carbon emissions exchange in Shenzhen, China. Pilot carbon emissions schemes have also begun in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Tianjin. Further expansion of China's regional cap- and-trade is planned, and ultimately it is expected that these regional systems will form the backbone of a national cap-and-trade program. As these programs have not been fully implemented and have experienced significant price volatility on low early trading volumes, we are unable at this time to determine their impact on our operations.

        Federal climate change legislation in the U.S. appears unlikely in the near-term. As a result, domestic efforts to curb GHG emissions will continue to be led by the EPA's GHG regulations and the efforts of states. To the extent that our domestic operations are subject to the EPA's GHG regulations, we may face increased capital and operating costs associated with new or expanded facilities. Significant expansions of our existing facilities or construction of new facilities may be subject to the Clean Air Act's (the "CAA") Prevention of Significant Deterioration requirements under the EPA's GHG "Tailoring Rule." Some of our facilities are also subject to the EPA's Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases rule, and any further regulation may increase our operational costs.

        Under a consent decree with states and environmental groups, the EPA is due to propose new source performance standards for GHG emissions from refineries. These standards could significantly increase the costs of constructing or adding capacity to refineries and may ultimately increase the costs or decrease the supply of refined products. Either of these events could have an adverse effect on our business.

        We are already managing and reporting GHG emissions, to varying degrees, as required by law for our sites in locations subject to Kyoto Protocol obligations and/or European Union emissions trading scheme requirements. Although these sites are subject to existing GHG legislation, few have experienced or anticipate significant cost increases as a result of these programs, although it is possible that GHG emission restrictions may increase over time. Potential consequences of such restrictions include capital requirements to modify assets to meet GHG emission restrictions and/or increases in energy costs above the level of general inflation, as well as direct compliance costs. Currently, however, it is not possible to estimate the likely financial impact of potential future regulation on any of our sites.

        Finally, it should be noted that some scientists have concluded that increasing concentrations of GHGs in the earth's atmosphere may produce climate changes that have significant physical effects, such as increased frequency and severity of storms, droughts, and floods and other climatic events. If any of those effects were to occur, they could have an adverse effect on our assets and operations.