Subject to approval from local fire authorities, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp's fire-hit ethylene plant is estimated to become operational in about a month. A fire occurred on the premises of the No. 2 unit in late December, claiming lives of four workers. This forced Mitsubishi Chemical -Japan's largest petrochemical maker, to shut down the 516,000 tpa unit. The unit has eight furnaces, and the No.8 furnace where the fire broke out is the most severely damaged. Inspections and repairs since last month, have revealed no apparent damage to the first five furnaces, and some damage to the No. 6 furnace- These can be operational about a month. Output from the first six furnaces would total to about 80% of plant capacity.
The markets of Asia will feel the impact of the restart- supply of ethylene and propylene in the region will be eased, and demand for feedstock naphtha will be boosted.