Japan's Mitsui Chemicals seeks resorcinol supply after blasts

25 April 2012 13:35  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Japanese chemical producer Mitsui Chemicals has asked Sumitomo Chemical to supply it with resorcinol after explosions forced the closure of the resorcinol plant at its Iwakuni-Ohtake site, a Mitsui Chemicals official said on Wednesday.

Mitsui Chemicals fears the shutdown will cause a shortage of product supply, she said.

Sumitomo Chemical has agreed to supply the product [resorcinol] to us, but we do not know how much yet because we have to take into consideration factors such as how long the shutdown may last, and how much we have in stock,” the official said in Japanese on the phone. 

Resorcinol is an adhesive agent for wood and tyres.

Mitsui shut down all its plants at the Iwakuni-Ohtake site in Yamaguchi prefecture following a series of explosions at the 7,600 tonne/year resorcinol unit on 22 April.

The producer restarted two of the plants on Wednesday but 27 others, including the resorcinol/acetone, cymene, purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plants were still shut, Mitsui said in a statement.

The company does not know when any of these units will be restarted, the official said.

“It is difficult to say at this point if we will have a shortage of PET and PTA but we have plants producing both PET and PTA in Thailand and Indonesia. We may also ask other [chemical] companies to help us. Regarding PET, overseas products are being imported [into Japan]. Our share of PET in Japan is about 16% so we do not expect a large impact on the market,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the local fire department and police began an on-site investigation at the Iwakuni-Ohtake site on Tuesday but have not yet discovered the cause of the blasts, the official said.

The resorcinol/acetone and cymene plants were damaged by the explosions and fire but 12 others – including the methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) and arlen (AL) plants – were intact, Mitsui said.

Fifteen other plants, including the PET and PTA units, were still being inspected for damage, the producer added.

By: Tomomi Yokomura
+65 6780 4359

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