This week, Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp will resume operation of its No.1 naphtha unit after a similar attempt earlier led to an explosion at the 700,000 tpa unit in early March. One worker was killed in the explosion that destroyed the units control panel. The company, Taiwan's only publicly traded oil refiner, has obtained government approval to resume production. A compressor that was affected by the explosion will remain shut.
The 700,000 tpa No. 1 plant has been shut since January because of weak polymer demand. Formosa's three ethylene plants have a combined capacity of 2.94 mln tpa including 1.2 mln tons at the No. 3 unit. Once the No. 1 unit successfully resumes production, Formosa plans to proceed with an overdue maintenance at its No.3 unit, as well as to repair a mechanical fault. Production will be at a standstill at this unit for about 15 days. Supplies are unlikely to get affected with the shutdown at the No.3 unit because of simultaneous resumption of output at the No. 1 unit.