UpdatePower outage halts Yeosu, Korea petrochemical operations

17 January 2011 11:31  [Source: ICIS news]

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Power outage briefly halts Yeosu petrochemical operationsSINGAPORE (ICIS)--A brief power outage caused a widespread shutdown of petrochemical facilities in Yeosu, South Korea, on Monday afternoon, industry sources said.

Sources at LG Chem, Kumho, Honam Petrochemical, GS Caltex and KPX Fine Chemical confirmed halting operations at their facilities.

A total of 20 chemical companies at Yeosu had been affected after a power generator operated by Korea Power Electricity Corp (KEPCO) tripped at 16:10 Korea time, according to media reports.

Power supply was restored 20 minutes after, but the downtime for petrochemical plants was expected to last a few hours with a number of them expecting to resume operations later on Monday, industry sources said.

“We are still assessing how long it would take to restart the plants,” said a source at GS Caltex.

GS Caltex operates three paraxylene units in Yeosu with a combined nameplate capacity of 1.35m tonnes/year, which were all shut because of the power outage, he said.

Its 180,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant at the site was also said to be down.

Meanwhile, a source at KPX Fine Chemical confirmed that its two 50,000 tonne/year toluene di-isocyanate plants at the site were down.

“We have no idea when the problem can be solved,” he said.

Kumho Mitsui Chemical (KMCI) had likewise shut its two methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) facilites, which have a combined capacity of 140,000 tonnes/year.

“This is really a bad news for us, our plants are already having some technical problem and we have very little stock left,” said a company source.

“This is really a big headache,” he said.

LG Chem’s 150,000 tonne/year low density PE (LDPE) plant and 300,000 tonne/year HDPE unit at Yeosu were also among those shut by the power outage. These plants were expected to be restarted on Monday night, said a company source.

Operations at Honam Petrochemical’s 380,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) line and its 370,000 tonne/year high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant were also halted, said a company source.

The PP plant would resume production by 18:00 Korea time, while the HDPE plant would likely resume production later on Monday, said the Honam source.

Hanwha Chemical’s linear low density PE (LLDPE) plants, with combined capacity of 379,000 tonnes/year, were also shut, said a company source.

It was not known when the plants would resume production, said the source, adding that the units “experienced some technical problems after the outage”.

Meanwhile, Daelim Industrial managed to continue running its high-density polyethylene (PE) plants, with a combined capacity of 260,000 tonnes/year, and its 170,000 tonne/year metallocene linear low density PE (MLLDPE) in Yeosu, using the company’s back-up power generator, said a company source.

With additional reporting by Becky Zhang, Ong Sheau Ling, Chow Bee Lin and Bohan Loh

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By: Pearl Bantillo
+65 6780 4359



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