Chemical Companies in Japan Update: The First Chemical Production Facilities in Japan Are Back on Line

Editor: Marion Henig

How do the rolling blackouts in Japan affect the chemical companies and how big is the damage at the chemical sites caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami? We have a continuos look on the leading local players.

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Map of Japan (Picture: Wikipedia)
Map of Japan (Picture: Wikipedia)

Japan – 70 percent of the Japanese chemical companys have less then 50 employees. Therefore it is a difficult task to precisely figure out the impact of this catastrophe for the Japanese chemical industry. But there are some bigger players as well, and they already have released information about the damages on their sites. A main consequence is that a lot of chemical plants are currently offstream. (To learn more about the chemical industry in Japan, please notice the whitepaper >>Chemical Industry of Japan 2010

Impact on Mitsubishi Chemical

Mitsubishi Chemical Holding announced damages at Kashima plant, Tsukuba plant and Odawara plant. After the earthquake all production plants had been shut down. No fires or security-related problems have been reported. At Odawara Plant, all production facilities have been back on line since March, 23, 2011. At Tsukuba Plant some production facilities are restarted already, but all production facilities will not be back on line until early April. At Kashima plant all on-site power generation facilities, and others are shut down, and piers and other infrastructure are damaged. As the berths are damaged and the roads and infrastructure around the plant area are alos damages, delivery or shipment of cargo would be next to impossible. Further, restoration of capabilities will take at least two month. In advance of any re-startaup, the plant must be inspected, and the condition of production facilities be determined. Some rebuilding activities have been already started.

Impact on Mitsui Chemicals Group

The Mitsui Chemicals Group reports no casualties or injuries at any of its operations within the earthquake affected area. Production at polyurethane material plants at Kashima has been suspended since the earthquake. Operations will be resumed after assessment of damage by the earthquake and tsunami. At Ichihara the ethylene plants' production is according to schedule. Operations at Mitsui DuPont Polychemicals and Chiba Phenol plants which were suspended since the earthquake have been resumed. In Mobara Branch Factory operations at all plants which were suspended since the earthquake have been resumed at most plants taking into consideration effects of the scheduled “rolling” blackout.

Mitsui Chemicals says it will fully cooperate with the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) scheduled “rolling” blackout plan that is being initiated to stabilize power supply which is in shortage due to severe damage by the Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake to nuclear power stations and transmission facilities. For Works located in scheduled “rolling” blackout areas, Mitsui Chemicals will continue its ongoing power reduction efforts while making full use of self-generation systems to minimize the effects of the scheduled blackouts.