Poland’s ZAK takes down oxo-alcohol, urea units in wake of explosion

18 August 2014 16:49 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Poland’s Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn (ZAK) said on Monday it has been forced to shut down its oxo-alcohol and urea installations, in addition to its ammonia unit, in the wake of last week’s hydrogen explosion at the company’s production complex.

ZAK initially announced that only the ammonia unit had been closed as a result of the incident, but company spokesman Grzegorz Kulik said the damage meant that the oxo-alcohol and urea closures were also necessary.

“Some parts of the lines [in the production complex] have been damaged and the maintenance specialists are dealing with repairing them and starting up production as soon as possible,” Kulik said.

“The nitrate fertilizer plants – ammonium nitrate [AN] and calcium ammonium nitrate [CAN] – are continuing with production,” he added, pointing out that although the ammonia unit was down, the company had access to ammonia stocks.

The explosion, which ZAK said was probably caused by a pipe leakage, left eight people with minor injuries, including two who were hit by shards of glass and needed hospital treatment.

ZAK, located in Kedzierzyn-Kozle, southwestern Poland, is the sole Polish producer of oxo-alcohols. ZAK produces 155,000 tonnes/year of 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH), 30,000 tonnes/year of n-butanol (NBA), 20,000 tonnes/year of isobutanol (IBA) and 60,000 tonnes/year of dioctyl phthalate (DOP), according to ICIS data.

The company is part of the largest Polish chemical group and second largest European fertilizer producer, Grupa Azoty.

By Will Conroy