Kiev — Ethylene and polyethylene producing facilities at Ukraine's largest petrochemical company KarpatNaftoKhim were put in an emergency mode on Sunday as firefighters worked all night to extinguish a fire, the company reported.
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The fire broke out at the pyrolysis shop that compresses and separates the pyrogas from the production of ethylene and polyethylene, KarpatNaftoKhim reported.
"As a result of the combustion of the gas mixture in the pyrogas pipeline at the inlet to the boiler, the fire occurred," the company said in a statement.
An automatic fire safety system kicked in to prevent the fire from spreading beyond the affected area of 4,000 square meters, the company said. Personnel quickly shut down the gate valves that supply inputs to the installation, the company added.
A special team is currently investigating the cause of the fire and is assessing damages, Ihor Matviychuk, the mayor of Kalush, the city in which the company is based, said in a statement.
The fire comes a month after KarpatNaftoKhim resumed operation following a 30-day scheduled maintenance involving ethylene and polyethylene production facilities.
The company, which was out of operation between November 1 and December 1, 2018, resumed operation of its ethylene and polyethylene production facilities on December 10 and gradually increased polyethylene production to the desired capacity, according to KarpatNaftoKhim director general Ivan Pidsadiuk.
KarpatNaftoKhim is estimated to have produced more than 14,000 mt of ethylene, 6,318 mt of propylene and 5,600 mt of polyethylene in December 2018, according to the company. The detailed statistics are expected to be released later this year.
KarpatNaftoKhim is the country's only producer of suspension polyvinyl chloride (PVC-S) and the major producer of vinyl chloride monomer, polyethylene, ethylene, propylene, caustic soda and other petrochemical products.
KarpatNaftoKhim resumed operation in June 2017 after five years of stoppage, partially caused by high oil prices and serious political tensions between Ukraine and Russia triggered in early 2014 by Moscow's annexation of Crimea. Russia's Lukoil was the owner of KarpatNaftoKhim before selling the company to a group of investors in early 2017.
KarpatNaftoKhim is capable of annually producing about 300,000 mt of PVC-S, 200,000 mt of caustic soda, 180,000 mt of chlorine, 100,000 mt of polyethylene and 250,000 mt of ethylene.
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