Japan's Tosoh shuts all monomer plants after fire

TOKYO Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:56am GMT

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TOKYO Nov 14 (Reuters) - Japanese intergraded chemicals maker Tosoh Corp said on Monday that it has shut its three vinyl chloride monomer plants in western Japan as a fire that started on Sunday in one of the facilities continued to burn.

A Tosoh spokesman said that a 52-year-old male employee was presumed to have been killed, with fire breaking out after an explosion at the firm's Nanyo complex in Yamaguchi prefecture.

He added that the fire was abating and that there had been no other injuries.

Tosoh's Nanyo complex, home to the three vinyl chloride monomer manufacturing plants, is capable of producing an annual total of 1.2 million tonnes of the material used in making plastic. That accounts for a third of the nation's total capacity of 3.52 million tonnes per year.

Following the outbreak of the fire, oil refiner and ethylene producer Idemitsu Kosan Co significantly lowered its pipeline supply of ethylene to Tosoh from its Tokuyama plant, an Idemitsu official said on Sunday.

Idemitsu will also reduce output at its 623,000 tonnes per year naphtha cracker at the Tokuyama plant but will keep supplying steady volumes to other customers, the official added.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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