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Japan's Maruzen restarts quake-shut naphtha cracker

April 05/2011

(Reuters) - Japan's Maruzen Petrochemical Co Ltd said on Monday it began restarting its 480 KTa naphtha cracker in Chiba, east of Tokyo, earlier in the day, nearly a month after it was shut down following the magnitude 9.0 quake on March 11. The restart means only two crackers remain shut due to the quake. They are operated by Mitsubishi Chemical Corp at its Kashima plant, northeast of Tokyo, and have a total capacity of 828 KTa.

Mitsubishi Chemical, a unit of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings , said in late March that the restart of the crackers would take at least two months.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp, an oil refining unit of JX Holdings, was also forced to shut a 404 KTa cracker in Kawasaki after the quake, but it resumed operations on March 29.

Japan has a combined ethylene making capacity of 7.3 million tonnes a year, and nearly 17 percent of that capacity is currently off line due to the closure of the Kashima plants and a maintenance shutdown of Idemitsu Kosan Co's 374 KTa cracker at Chiba.

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