JAPAN DISASTER: Maruzen’s Chiba EO unit restarts, runs below 100%

27 April 2011 12:24  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Japanese chemical producer Maruzen Petrochemical has restarted its ethylene oxide (EO) plant in Chiba prefecture but the unit has yet to run at full capacity, a company source said on Wednesday.

The 115,000 tonnes/year plant resumed operations on 15 April after more than a month of shutdown, following the 11 March earthquake in northeastern Japan.

“We are running the plant, targeting to bring it to full rate,” the source said in Japanese but declined to disclose the current operating rate at the unit.

No timeline was provided on when the plant can ramp up to full production.

The EO unit, along with Maruzen’s naphtha cracker, butadiene unit, as well as part of its benzene/toluene/xylene (BTX) plant in Chiba prefecture, halted operations because of the deadly earthquake and tsunami last month.

The 525,000 tonne/year cracker was restarted on 4 April, while the 90,000 tonne/year butadiene unit, run by its joint venture Chiba Butadiene Industry, came back on stream on 5 April, Maruzen said in a statement on 6 April.

Part of the BTX plant, which produces 198,000 tonnes/year of benzene, 85,000 tonnes/year of toluene and 72,000 tonnes/year of xylene, was restarted on 6 April, the company said.

Meanwhile, the company’s 170,000 tonnes/year methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) unit in Chiba, which caught fire following the earthquake, has remained shut.

Maruzen had said in a statement early this month that it would take at least a year to restore the damaged MEK unit.

By: Tomomi Yokomura
+65 6780 4359

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