Thu, Jul 08, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Formosa shuts down facility after fire hits No. 1 ethylene plant


A huge cloud of smoke rises from a fire at Formosa Petrochemical Corp’s No. 1 ethylene plant on the coast of Mailiao Township in Yunlin County yesterday, as seen from another industrial area 10km away.


Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), the nation’s only listed oil refiner, said it had halted its No. 1 ethylene plant following a fire.

The blaze occurred at about 11:50am yesterday and is now under control, the company said in a statement delivered via mobile text-message. No one was injured, the Mailiao (麥寮), Yunlin County-based refiner said.

Formosa Petrochemical has three ethylene plants with a combined annual capacity of 2.935 million tonnes, including the No. 1 plant’s 700,000 tonnes. Ethylene is a raw material for plastics, chemicals and synthetic fibers. The company’s No. 2 ethylene plant has an annual capacity of 1.035 million tones, while the No. 3 plant offers 1.2 million tonnes.

Chemical supply to customers this month won’t be affected by the accident as the company draws on inventories, Formosa Petrochemical spokesman Lin Keh-yen (林克彥) said by telephone.

The impact on supply next month has yet to be determined, he said.

“We can’t evaluate how long the plant will be shut yet,” he said.

Asian naphtha prices fell yesterday on concern that demand from Taiwan would slow following the fire at Formosa plant. Open-specification naphtha dropped 1.7 percent to US$612.25 per tonne, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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