China Petrochemical Plant Shut Following Deadly Explosion

Reuters, January 16, 2023

China's Panjin Haoye Chemical Co Ltd has shut down its entire oil refinery and petrochemical complex after an explosion on Sunday killed five people and left eight missing, according to trade sources and a local consultancy.

The explosion occurred at 3:13 p.m. (0713 GMT) on Sunday at Panjin Haoye while workers were carrying out maintenance work at an alkylation facility, Chinese state television reported earlier on Monday.

The death toll increased from two to five by Monday evening, according to state TV.

Calls to Panjin Haoye for comment went unanswered.

The company is an independent refinery and chemical producer in the city of Panjin in Liaoning province in northeastern China.

Thirty people were also lightly injured, according to the initial TV report, which said a fire resulting from the explosion has been brought under control.

Local prices in north China for both gasoline and gasoil surged because of the unplanned outage, according to several China-based trade sources.

Xu Peng, an analyst with consultancy JLC that closely tracks the production of independent refineries, estimated Haoye was processing at 62.5% of its crude refining capacity of 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) through 2022.

The plant processed 460,000 tonnes of crude in December, or roughly 110,000 bpd, according to another China-based trade source.

JLC's Xu and several trading sources estimated that the site may be closed for months.

A year ago, Panjin Haoye was among three independent refineries named by the Liaoning provincial government to have evaded fuel taxes amid a broad national clampdown to consolidate its massive refining sector.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Trixie Yap; Editing by Tom Hogue, Christian Schmollinger and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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