Jilin's aniline, phenol/acetone units still shut after blasts

18 November 2005 01:49  [Source: ICIS news]

SHANGHAI (ICIS news)--Aniline and phenol/acetone units at PetroChina subsidiary Jilin Petrochemical are still shut after explosions rocked the site last Sunday, company sources told ICIS news.

ICIS news was earlier told that the units at Jilin city, Jilin province, had been restarted on Monday. But sources said the company was unable to restart the 70,000 tonne/year aniline unit and the 120,000 tonne/year phenol/acetone unit. They could not explain why this was so.

One of the sources said it was unclear when the aniline unit would resume operations but the company would try to start up the phenol/acetone unit in the next few days.

A series of explosions rocked the company's second 70,000 tonne/year aniline plant last Sunday afternoon. Investigations by Jilin's Bureau of Production Safety Supervision and Administration showed that they were caused by a plant operator who had neglected to shut a valve in time.

That caused temperature in a feedstock unit to rise rapidly causing an explosion, said the bureau. Adjacent equipment and storage tanks containing nitrobenzene, benzene and nitric acid feedstocks also caught fire and exploded.

Five employees were found dead at the site while another is still missing.

The outage had no effect on domestic prices due to high inventories and slack end-user demand. In eastern China, acetone was this week trading at Rmb6,400-6,550/tonne ex-tank, unchanged from the previous week. Phenol prices in the region fell Rmb100/tonne from last week to Rmb8,800-8,900/tonne ex-tank.

Yeow Pei Lin contributed to this story.

By: Florence Tan
+65 6780 4359

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