Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals shuts MIBK unit after nearby blast

23 April 2012 04:39  [Source: ICIS news]

MELBOURNE  (ICIS)--Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals shut its 30,000 tonne/year methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) plant at Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture following a blast at a nearby resorcinol facility on Sunday, a market source said on Monday.

“We have been informed that the MIBK plant has been shut, and are waiting for further updates on the current situation,” the source said.

“Because of the seriousness of the matter, [Mitsui Chemicals] will not be able to restart the plant until after they receive government approval to do so,” the source added.

One worker was killed and 21 workers were injured in an explosion and fire at a resorcinol plant at the site on Sunday.

Mitsui Chemicals said the explosion occurred at around 02:15 hours Japan local time (17:00 GMT).

The fire spread to a cymene plant at the site and was brought under control at 17:15 hours, the company said.

The accident caused extensive damage to windows and roofs at 14 plants at the site, the company added.

Mitsui Chemicals is the largest of three MIBK makers in Japan with a nameplate capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year.

The other producers are Mitsubishi Chemical and Kyowa Hakko Chemical, which have capacities to make 20,000 tonnes/year and 15,000 tonnes/year of MIBK, respectively.

MIBK, which is derived from acetone, is used as a solvent for industrial paints and thinners, and to produce rubber chemicals.

Resorcinol is an adhesive agent for wood and tyres.

By: Trisha Huang

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