19 May 2008 06:33 [Source: ICIS news]
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By Bohan Loh
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Chinese chemical firms located in quake-hit Sichuan were struggling to resume operations, with some having lost many of their staff and others finding restarts hampered by fresh aftershocks, producers and traders said on Monday.
“Many people in our company are dead and buried in the collapse. We don’t know when our production will resume. Our current priority is to save people who are alive,” a company source from Yun Feng, a synthetic ammonia producer located in ?xml:namespace>
He added that the company’s resulting losses due to the earthquake had yet to be totalled up.
Shifang is located 70km away from the epicentre of the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that hit
Another synthetic ammonia maker in Shifang - Ying Feng - suffered similar damage with its plants collapsing when the earthquake struck, trapping workers beneath the rubble.
The two synthetic ammonia producers leaked over 80 tonnes of molecules in all, sparking concerns about the environment and potential contamination of drinking supplies.
“We’re still trying to put a number to the damage that has been done” a company source from Sichuan Hongda, a phosphate producer, said. He added that the company’s facilities had been severely damaged.
“Overall, when all the dust is settled, I would estimate a total damage not to exceed yuan (CNY) 3bn ($420m) for PetroChina and CNY2bn for Sinopec, roughly 2% and 5% of their (respective) overall 2008 profit estimates,” Gordon Kwan, Head of China Energy, CLSA, said.
PetroChina has also said it could scrap plans for the construction of a CNY20bn, 800,000 tonne/year ethylene plant in Chengdu, if studies concluded the site is prone to natural disaster as it is 60km from the epicentre of the recent earthquake.
The financial cost of the quake was estimated at a staggering $20bn by consulting firm Air Worldwide using insurance coverage and property data as a guide.
Some other chemical producers in
The company, however, suspended production on the same day to avoid any potential post-quake damage due to recurring after-shocks.
Lutianhua, the largest dimethyl ether (DME) producer in southwest
Experts have predicted the eventual toll from the disaster to exceed 50,000 lives. The death toll now stands at more than 34,000 as
($1 = CNY6.99)
Dolly Wu and Judith Wang contributed to this article
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