UpdateFire at Formosa's Mailiao petchem complex under control

26 July 2010 06:17  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--A fire that broke out at Formosa's petrochemical facility in Mailiao Sunday evening was brought under control late Monday morning with no casualties, said a company source.

The incident - the second at the complex this month - started with an explosion at Formosa's 73,000 bbl/day desulphurisation unit at the site, forcing the shutdown of some downstream units, including a 520,000 tonne/year group II base oils refinery, market sources said.

On 7 July, an explosion had halted operations at the company's 700,000 tonne/year naphtha cracker in Mailiao. The cracker was expected to remain off line for two to three months, according to market sources.

The outage at the desulphurisation unit would impact the crude runs at Formosa’s 540,000 bbl/day refinery at the site, traders said.

"Our [base oils] refinery shutdown does not affect domestic delivery and export shipment. Our shipment will be on schedule," said a second source at Formosa.

The shutdown occurred just a week before the planned maintenance turnaround at the refinery from 1 August, industry sources said.

“We will lose an additional 10,000 tonnes of production due to this shutdown,” said a third Formosa source.

A number of export cargoes of group II base oils had been fixed by Formosa in the past few weeks – and the destinations included SE Asia, India, the Middle East and the US.

“A 100,000 tonne/year bitumen plant run by Simosa, a subsidiary of Formosa, also located in the Mailiao complex was still operating normally, said a company source.

"We still have feedstock inventory so our operation and exports are not affected," said the source.

With additional reporting by Felicia Loo and Judith Wang

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections
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By: Anu Agarwal
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