July 26, 2010 at 10:11 am #2575
Taiwan Formosa refinery shut after fire
By Seng Li Peng and Lin Miao-jung
TAIWAN/SINGAPORE, July 26, 2010 (Reuters) – Formosa Petrochemicals Corp’s 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Taiwan has been closed after a fire, and one-third of the capacity could be out for an extended period, the company said on Monday.
Company spokesman Lin Ke Yan said one of the crude distillation units (CDUs) could be shut for a long period, without giving a timeframe, while the other two could restart within two days.
The blaze, which started at an 80,000-bpd residual desulphuriser on Sunday evening is still flaring but is under control, the company said.
“The fire started at the RDS, and is not directly connected to the three CDUs. But for safety reasons, we decided to shut the entire refinery temporarily,” he said.
The fire broke out around 8 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) at the residue desulphurising unit in the Mailiao refinery and petrochemical complex, Asia’s fifth biggest.
It was still being dealt with on Monday, the company said, adding there were no deaths or injuries.
Officials from the county where the refinery is based said on Monday they would meet to discuss any action after the fire. “Three fires in just half a year we find hard to believe and think the company needs to conduct a review,” a news official from southwestern Taiwan’s Yunlin County told Reuters.
Shares of Formosa Petrochemical slid 1.7 percent on Monday, against a 0.2 percent increase for the broader market.
A semi-official Taiwan news agency reported that local residents were urging that the plant be closed.
[color=#ff0000 size=2]Formosa was also forced to shut one of its two 84,000-bpd gasoline-making residue fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) at the complex on July 13 due to mechanical problems.
The unit failed to restart on schedule last Friday due to technical issues. It was not immediately known if the RFCC had come back online at the weekend as planned.
An explosion at Formosa’s 700,000 tonne-per-year (tpy) No. 1 naphtha cracker on July 7 also forced the company to shut the unit, which is located at a different site at Mailiao. The naphtha cracker is expected to resume late September or early October.
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