23 April 2012 05:55 [Source: ICIS news]
(adds details with recasts throughout)
The first blast that ignited a fire occurred at 02:15
A second explosion occurred at a tank of the resorcinol plant at 08:05 local time. The resulting fire spread to the adjacent cymene plant and a utility piping rack, and raged on throughout the day, until it was put under control at 17:15 local time on Sunday.
Local authorities are investigating the cause of the blasts, which damaged the windows and roofs of 14 plants at the site, according to Mitsui Chemicals.
Among the plants that were shut are Mitsui Chemicals’ 400,000 tonne/year purified terephthalic acid (PTA) unit and its 145,000 tonne/year polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plants, the company official said.
“We are investigating the extent of the damage but it seems limited at this point in time,” said another company source, adding that no restart date has been set for the PTA facility.
“We are also considering if a force majeure needs to be declared,” he added.
Mitsui Chemicals’ 30,000 tonne/year methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) plant at the site was also taken off line following Sunday’s blasts.
“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,” said a market source.
Mitsui Chemicals is the largest of three MIBK makers in
MIBK, which is derived from acetone, is used as a solvent for industrial paints and thinners, and to produce rubber chemicals.
“It is still difficult to say how long it will take until we can restart [the plants]. We need to investigate the cause [of the explosions] first,” said the first company official.
Additional reporting by Bohan Loh and Trisha Huang
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