Japan’s Denka shuts Chiba SM plant as fire hits idled unit

22 July 2013 04:17  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Japanese chemical producer Denki Kagaku Kogyo (Denka) has shut its 270,000 tonne/year styrene monomer (SM) plant at Chiba over the weekend following a fire that erupted at an idled plant at the site, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

The fire broke out at 9:35 Japan time (01:35 GMT) on 20 July at the distillation tower of a smaller 240,000 tonne/year SM plant that has been idled since April 2012, Denka said in a statement issued on 21 July.

The blaze, which erupted while the company is in the process of dismantling the plant, was extinguished on the following day at 9:13 am, it said.

“We have stopped [the 270,000 SM unit] until the safety for our workers is confirmed,” the company spokesperson said over the phone.

No one was injured, and no other facilities were damaged by the fire, Denka said.

No definite restart date was set for the 270,000 tonne/year SM plant, according to the Denka spokesperson, but said that the shutdown is not expected to significantly affect its ability to supply to customers.

“We have inventories [of SM], and we are talking to our customers separately so that there will not be influences on the supply chain,” he said.

The closure of the 240,000 tonne/year SM plant followed the exit of Denka’s former joint-venture partner – Sumitomo Chemical – in Chiba Styrene Monomer last year.

Operations of some other units at Denka’s Chiba site were halted following the 20 July, the spokesperson said but did not provide details.

Denka produces polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrene butadiene copolymer (SBC) and methyl methacrylate styrene (MS) at Chiba, according to the spokesman. 

By: Tomomi Yokomura
+65 6780 4359

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