Japan’s Tosoh, Tokuyama Corp shut some chemical units after quake

14 March 2014 08:49 Source:ICIS News

TOKYO (ICIS)--Tosoh Corp and Tokuyama Corp have shut their facilities located in western Japan following an earthquake that struck early on Friday, according to the respective spokespersons of the two Japanese firms.

Their plants rely on feedstock supply from Idemitsu Kosan’s naphtha cracker in Tokuyama that was taken off line Friday morning, along with the company's 120,000 bbl/day refinery at the site.

Tosoh halted production at its two vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plants with a combined capacity of 650,000 tonne/year; and its 80,000 tonne/year polyethylene (PE) plant in Shunan, Yamaguchi prefecture.

The PE plant was restarted in the afternoon, after a few hours of shutdown, the spokesperson.

These plants derive their feedstock from Idemitsu Kosan’s naphtha cracker, which was also taken off line, he said.

The company’s other plants in Shunan, including the 71,000 tonne/year ethyleneamine unit, are operating normally, the spokesperson said.

An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude struck the coastal areas of the Seto Inland Sea in western Japan at two hours past midnight, and shook the prefectures of Yamaguchi, Ehime, Hiroshima on Japan’s main island of Honshu, where many chemical plants are located.

The Oita prefecture in the southern island of Kyushu also felt the tremors, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

At least 17 people suffered minor injuries, according to local media reports.

Tokuyama Corp has also stopped operation at its 79,000 propylene oxide (PO) and 330,000 tonne/year VCM plants in Shunan, a company spokesperson said.

The company had also reduced production of polycrystalline silicon at the same site after the earthquake. It has four production lines with a combined capacity of 11,000 tonnes/year, he said.

The polycrystalline silicon lines had been operating at a low rate even before the earthquake, the spokesperson said.

Tokuyama’s subsidiary, Tokuyama Polypro, has also suspended production at its 200,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant at Shunan hours after the earthquake, according to the spokesperson.

Tokuyama Polypro is a joint venture between Tokuyama Corp and Prime Polymer.

By Tomomi Yokomura