Thu, Aug 20, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Formosa Chemicals closes aromatics factory after blaze

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Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (台灣化纖), a unit of Taiwan’s biggest diversified industrial group, shut its No. 3 aromatics plant after a heating pipe ruptured on Tuesday, causing a fire.

The plant in Mailiao (麥寮), Yunlin County, would resume operations as early as possible, Formosa Chemicals president Hong Fu-yuan (洪福源) said by telephone. The fire had been extinguished, he said.

“We’ll gradually restart the plant after repairing the damage,” he said.

Formosa Chemicals has three aromatics plants with a total annual capacity of 3.5 million tonnes, including 1.5 million tonnes at the No. 3 unit, Hong said. The units produce benzene, paraxylene and orthoxylene, used to make computer casings, polyester fiber, dyes and insecticides.

Output would be reduced “a bit,” while the impact on sales would be limited, as the company may buy petrochemicals to make up for the shortfall, Hong said.

Separately, state-run CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) shut its No. 3 naphtha-processing plant in Kaohsiung on Tuesday because of a mechanical fault.

The refiner plans to restart the plant today after fixing the fault, vice president Lin Maw-wen (林茂文) said yesterday. The company expects petrochemical supplies to customers to remain normal as its other two naphtha crackers are in service, Lin said.

The crackers process naphtha into ethylene, a material used to make plastics, chemicals and synthetic fabrics. CPC operates three such plants with a combined annual ethylene output capacity of 1.08 million tonnes, including the No. 3 plant’s 230,000 tonnes.

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