Taiwan petrochemical operations normal despite 7.7-magnitude quake

Nurluqman Suratman


SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Operations at most petrochemical plants in western Taiwan were unaffected by a major quake that struck off the eastern coast of the island early on Wednesday, but the port at Formosa Petrochemical Corp’s (FPCC) Mailiao refinery was reportedly shut.

  • Quake strongest in 25 years; kills four, injures at least 50
  • Petrochemical plants of 11 companies running, based on ICIS checks
  • Temporary closure of FPCC port prompted by tsunamis

Asia Polymer Corp, CPC Corp, China American Petrochemical Co (CAPCO) and China Petrochemical Development Corp (CPDC), were running all their respective plants normally, based on separate checks with company sources.

The same is true for the plants of Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (FCFC), FPCC, LCY Chemical Corp, Nan Ya Plastics, Oriental Petrochemical (Taiwan) Co, TSRC Corp and USI Corp.

Taiwan is a major petrochemical producer and exporter in Asia, with manufacturing hubs in Mailiao and Kaohsiung on the western coast.

Taiwan map

The quake struck at around 08:00 local time (00:00 GMT), with its epicentre 18 kilometres south of Taiwan’s Hualien City, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Four people were killed in Hualien County, with 26 buildings reported “to tilt or collapse”, Taiwan’s National Fire Agency said on Wednesday.

Source: United States Geological Survey

The temblor’s intensity was revised up by Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) to 7.7 from 7.5 previously, and was the strongest temblor to hit Taiwan since the 7.3-magnitude quake of 21 September 1999.

More than 87,000 households were without power nationwide on Wednesday, according to the electricity operator Taipower. It was not immediately clear if the power cuts affected industrial sites.

Meanwhile, tsunamis generated by the quake that killed four and injured at least 50 people prompted the temporary closure of FPCC’s Mailiao port, but this could not be confirmed a the time of writing.

FPCC halted operation at its port at the company’s Mailiao refinery following the earthquake, news agency Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources, but should resume operations in the afternoon.

Two unidentified chemical tankers and one clean products tanker are currently berthed at Mailiao port, it added.

Earlier tsunami warnings issued in southern Japan were cancelled, noting that the threat has “largely passed”, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in an update at 02:02 GMT.

Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

Additional reporting by Judith Wang, Angeline Soh, Lucy Shuai, Luffy Wu, Samuel Wong, Ai Teng Lim, Claire Gao, Julia Tan, Corey Chew, Melanie Wee, Josh Quah and Helen Lee


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