Blast at Wanhua Chemical's China MDI unit kills four

21 September 2016 08:49 Source:ICIS News


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SINGAPORE (ICIS)--At least four people were killed by an explosion at Wanhua Chemical’s 600,000 tonnes/year methylene di-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) unit in Yantai, China, on 20 September, the company said on Wednesday.

A total of eight people were injured by the explosion, and were immediately rushed to the hospital but four of them died, the company said in a statement.

The accident happened at 17:22 local time (09:22 GMT) when the company was shutting down the plant for regular maintenance, the statement said.

The scheduled month-long turnaround at the Yantai unit will likely be extended, a company source said, but further details could only be confirmed after investigations have been conducted on the incident, a company source said.

Meanwhile, Wanhua Chemical’s 750,000 tonne/year propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and 240,000 tonne/year propylene oxide (PO)/ 800,000 tonne/year methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) production in Yantai were not affected, a separate company source said.

In Zhejiang province, Wanhua Chemical has an 800,000 tonne/year and a 400,000 tonne/year MDI plant in Ningbo, both of which are running at above 80% of capacity, the company source said.

A possible prolonged shutdown of the Yantai plant may prompt buyers to secure spot supply cargoes and consequently nudge up MDI prices, market sources said.

Domestic prices of polymeric MDI (PMDI) in China are expected to increase as all local suppliers have stopped offering cargoes on Wednesday, they said.

A northeast Asian producer has suspended its PMDI offers to China after the incident at Wanhua Chemical's MDI plant.

Picture: Construction in China. Polymeric MDI (PMDI) when combined with rigid polyols, is used in refrigerators, as well as insulation in the construction sector. (Source: Imagechina/REX/Shutterstock)

By Matthew Chong