Zhangzhou, Fujian - On 6 April an explosion hit a paraxylene (PX) plant owned by Taiwan's Tenglong Aromatics in Zhangzhou, Fujian. The blast was caused by oil leakage and has led to 14 injuries, said the Fujian government website.
According to local reports, the facilities were under routine inspection when the explosion happened and originally scheduled to resume operation the next day.
The plant's 1.6m tonne/year PX capacity accounts for more than one tenth of China's total capacity. Over 50% of the country's PX consumption comes from overseas, said local reports. PX price surged after the explosion.
The plant also has downstream facilities that supply to purified terephthalic acid (PTA) maker Xianglu Petrochem, another subsidiary of its parent Xianglu Tenglong Group and the second largest PTA maker in China. Xianglu Petrochem's 4.5m tonne/year PTA plant has suspended operation due to safety concerns, said local reports.
The PX plant has been the subject of controversy since 2007. This has seen several mass protests by local residents. Scientists pointed out the risks of dangerous chemical leaks can be controlled but disputes were aired as to whether effective regulation could be in place. A fire occurred at the same plant in 2013.