Fire hits Formosa's Mailiao site; cracker, downstream units shut

13 May 2011 03:57  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The Formosa group shut its 700,000 tonne/year No 1 cracker, along with some other downstream units, in Mailiao after a fire hit a plant at the petrochemical complex in northwestern Taiwan late on Thursday, company sources said on Friday.

“The utilities pipeline leaked and that caused a fire. But the fire has ceased and the leaking has stopped,” said a company source.

The fire caused a power outage that shut the No 1 cracker, said another company source.

Formosa Chemicals and Fibres Corp (FCFC) shut its No 1 aromatics unit at the site for safety reasons following the fire, a company source said.

The unit can produce 270,000 tonnes of paraxylene (PX), 150,000 tonnes/year of benzene and about 100,000 tonnes/year of isomer xylene.

“There was no damage to the facility but we shut the unit down for safety reasons,” said the source.

Meanwhile, Nanya Plastics, a part of the Formosa group, also halted operations at two of its four monoethylene glycol (MEG) units with a combined capacity of 700,000 tonne/year at the site following the fire, said a company source.

The two other MEG plants - a 400,000 tonne/year No 2 unit and a 700,000 tonne/year No 4 unit - were running, the source said.

A 240,000 tonne/year ethylene vinyl acetate/low density polyethylene plant in Mailiao, operated by Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC), was also taken off line, said an FPC official.

“All the derivative plants are shut for safety considerations,” he said.

Some other plants were heard shut, including two styrene monomer plants with a 250,000 tonne/year and a 350,000 tonne/year capacities, but these could not be confirmed.

Officials from the Formosa group could not say when production can resume at the plant.

Additional reporting by Bohan Loh, Becky Zhang, Felicia Loo, Helen Lee and Feliana Widjaja

By: Peh Soo Hwee
+65 6780 4359

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