Fanapi flood shuts petrochemical plants in southern Taiwan

20 September 2010 07:28  [Source: ICIS news]

By Pearl Bantillo and Helen Lee

Satellite image of typhoon FanapiSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Heavy floods in the wake of typhoon Fanapi in Taiwan forced the shutdown of some petrochemical plants in Kaohsiung on Sunday, industry sources said on Monday.

Fanapi swept through the island, bringing with it torrential rains that caused flash floods – the worst to hit Taiwan in nine years - disrupting electricity supply and injuring more than 100 people, based on media reports.

Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s biggest industrial city, which is home a number of petrochemical plants.

As of late Sunday, about 1,120-1,140mm of rain was dumped by Fanapi, Taiwan’s first major storm this year, in the Kaohsiung-Pingtung area, according to reports citing data from the island’s Central Weather Bureau.

CPC Corp had shut its 500,000 tonne/year No 5 cracker in Kaohsiung, with the downtime period expected to last two to three days, said a company official.

“We shut the plant on Sunday as a safety measure,” a company official said in Mandarin.

Plant operations had to be suspended to shield them from potential damage from power tripping caused by flooding, industry sources said.

Prior to the shutdown, CPC was operating the No 5 cracker along with its 230,000 tonne/year No 3 and 385,000 tonne/year No 4 crackers at Linyuan at 90-95% of their capacities, the company source said.

Its No 3 and No 4 crackers are currently operating normally.

China Petrochemical Development Corp (CPDC) had shut its 160,000 tonne/year acetic acid plant at Da Sheh, Kaohsiung County on Sunday night for the same reason.

“Power supply was not very stable yesterday and it has affected most Kaohsiung plants,” a company official said in Mandarin.

Flood waters had receded on Monday morning and operations at the acetic acid plant were expected to be restarted Monday afternoon.

The acetic acid plant was operating at 70-80% of capacity prior to the outage, the CPDC official said.

Kaohsiung Monomer Company (KMC) had also taken its 90,000 tonne/year methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant off line on Sunday, with the restart expected on Tuesday, said a company source.

The plant would be restarted on Tuesday, said the source.

Typhoon Fanapi disrupted power supply in parts of southern Taiwan on Sunday, halting production at China Petrochemical Development Corp’s 100,000 tonne/year caprolactam plant at Toufen in Miaoli County, said a company source.

Its other caprolactam line in Kaohsiung, with an 180,000 tonne/year capacity, was spared as it was standing on higher ground, although it was near the area immersed in flood, the source said. This line was operating normally, he added.

Among the other affected petrochemical producers were TSRC Corp and Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corp (GPPC), based on media reports.

Fanapi left Taiwan Sunday afternoon and was heading towards China, which is currently on high alert for the onslaught of the super typhoon.

In its 10:00am (03:00 GMT) update, the country’s Central Meteorological Office said the Fanapi was expected to make a landfall in the coastal areas from eastern Guangdong to central Fujian on Tuesday.

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Pearl Bantillo
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