South Korea: Explosion Causes Casualties Fire at Lotte Chemical's South Korean Naphta Cracker
An explosion on March 4 at a naphtha cracker of the South Korean chemical company Lotte Chemical had serious consequences. At least 31 people were injured in the resulting fire. Production in the affected cracker was suspended until further notice.
Seoul/South Korea — A fire at a compressor in Lotte Chemical's naphta cracker in Daesan, South Korea, injured up to 31 people. The fire broke out around three o'clock in the morning local time, but could be extinguished by the firefighters only two hours later. Reuters reported that the company is investigating the causes of the incident. Toxic chemicals had not escaped. According to the Korean news agency Yonhap, the operation of seven of the company's ten plants at the site was suspended. The affected plants produce benzene-toluene-xylene (BTX), butadiene (BD), ethylene glycol (EG) 1, polyethylene (PE) 1, polyfluoropropylene (PP) 1 and PP 2.
In Dasan, the petrochemical group produces about 1.1 million tonnes of ethylene. Although this represents only 0.6% of global ethylene production, according to Business Korea, the production stop may affect the global price. The price had fallen recently due to the trade disputes between the USA and China and the coronavirus. The shortage could drive the price up again. The online portal quotes experts who expect that the affected plants won't resume full operation within six months.