Fire hits unit at Japanese refinery

A fire that broke out on Mar. 1 at TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK’s 296,000-b/d Kawasaki refinery in Kanagawa, Japan, has been contained.

The fire, which occurred in upper part of the reactor tower of the refinery’s residue hydroconversion unit during early afternoon on Mar. 1, finally was extinguished by the Kawasaki City local fire department at 7:10 am on Mar. 2, according to a recent release from TonenGeneral.

At the time of the fire, which injured six workers, the impacted unit was under operational suspension and was undergoing a cleaning process due to maintenance work, the company said.

While TonenGeneral confirmed other units at the refinery continue to operate normally in the wake of the incident, details regarding a timetable for the plant’s full restart were not disclosed.

In its most recent earnings presentation to investors, TonenGeneral had said it planned to expand the capacity of the hydroconversion unit at the Kawasaki plant to 34,500 b/d to comply with a 2010 ordinance enacted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) requiring Japanese refiners to raise their mandatory cracking-to-crude distillation capacity ratio to 13% or higher from 10% by March 2014 (OGJ Online, Dec. 3, 2012).

The company also told investors it would be decommissioning a 67,000-b/d crude distillation unit (CDU) at the Kawasaki refinery as well as a 38,000-b/d CDU at its Wakayama refinery to comply with METI’s ordinance.

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