Japan Disaster – Some petchem plants shut; markets stable

By Malini Hariharan

News is slowly trickling in on the status of Japanese petrochemical plants. Only four of the country’s 14 crackers have shut down while a few are running at reduced rates, reports ICIS news.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy has shut its 460,000 tonnes/year cracker at Kawasaki while Maruzen Petrochemical has shut its 520,000 tonnes/year cracker at Chiba. And Mitsubishi Chemical has shut two crackers, with a total capacity of 828,000 tonnes/year at Kashima after a power outage. Mitsubishi has also shut its phenol plant at the same site.

And Japan Polypropylene has had to stop operations at its two polypropylene (PP) plants with a total capacity of 669, 000 tonnes/year.

Nearly 22% of the country’s refining capacity of 4.52m bbl/day is estimated to have shut down. This includes JX Nippon’s refineries in Sendai, Kashima and Negishi, as well as the Chiba refineries of Cosmo Oil and Kyokuto Petroleum.

A fire at JX Nippon’s storage tanks at Sendai has yet to be put out and storage tanks at Cosmo Oil’s in Chiba, were also still ablaze.

JX Nippon has also shut its benzene plants and is likely to declare force majeure on paraxylene (PX) supply

Shutdowns extend beyond petrochemicals across a wide range of sectors. For instance, Suzuki Motors is reported to have halted production at six of its factories while Toyota Motor has halted operations at all its 12 plants.

But Asian petchem markets were largely stable on Monday with players still assessing the impact of the shutdowns.

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