Blast at South Korea's Lotte Chemical shuts naphtha cracker; injures 31 people

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Lotte Chemical has shut its naphtha cracker after an explosion at the plant in the southwestern city of Seosan, which injured 31 people, the company said on Wednesday.

The explosion, which was triggered by a fire at a compressor in Lotte Chemical's naphtha cracker at around 3 a.m. local time (1800 GMT), has been contained and is under control, the company said in a statement.

The petrochemical maker said it has suspended its naphtha cracker's operations in Daesan county in Seosan due to the fire and will seek to minimize supply disruptions.

The company is looking into the exact cause of the accident, it said, adding there was no leak of toxic chemicals.

Lotte Chemical runs two naphtha crackers in South Korea. One cracker is located in Daesan county in Seosan which can produce 1.1 million tonnes per year of ethylene with the other 1.2 million tonnes per year cracker in the southwestern city of Yeosu.





(Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Chris Reese & Shri Navaratnam)