VCM prices rise on tight supply as Japan's Tosoh unit remains shut

29 November 2011 10:12  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The import prices of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) to northeast Asia have risen by $60-90/tonne (€45-68/tonne) on tight supply as Tosoh Corp’s VCM plant at Nanyo remains shut following the 13 November explosion, sources close to the Japanese company said on Tuesday.

As a result of the blast, Tosoh is unable to offer export cargoes for December shipments. VCM prices rose subsequently to $750-800/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NE (northeast) Asia on 25 November, according to data from ICIS.

The cause of the accident at Tosoh’s 550,000 tonne/year No 2 VCM line, located in Yamagata prefecture, is still under investigation. The explosion claimed the life of one employee.

Tosoh shut its two other VCM lines at the site – a 250,000 tonne/year No 1 line and a 400,000 tonne/year No 3 line – following the blast as a safety precaution.

The No 2 line, the largest of its three lines, was heard to be extensively damaged and the company may take up to a year to restart the line, market sources said.

It may take around three months to restart the No 3 line, while the No 1 line may be restarted in December, the sources added.

Official comments on restart dates from Tosoh were not immediately available.

The explosion appears to have occurred near the hydrogen chloride tower used in the VCM refining process after the plant was shut to repair the oxychlorination process control valves, Tosoh said in a statement.

Tosoh has set up an accident investigation and prevention committee to look into the cause of the accident, as well as come up with measures to prevent a similar accident from happening, the company said in another statement.

($1 = €0.75)

For more information on VCM, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Feliana Widjaja

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