A recent incident at Qenos’ Botany, NSW Olefines facility has halted operations at the facility with repercussions down the supply chain for packaging manufacturers using polyethylene (PE).

On 28 February, at around 6.15am, a length of cooling water pipe failed at the Qenos Olefines plant in Botany. In a media statement on the day the company confirmed no one was injured, and that the plant had been shut down safely in line with Qenos’ pre-planned procedures. The process to shut down the plant resulted in controlled elevated flaring at the site.

Fire & Rescue NSW, Police and NSW EPA were called to the site along with SafeWork NSW. The failure of the cooling water pipe caused external damage to the cooling water tower with debris located on the Qenos property boundary.

Qenos worked with these authorities and regulators to ensure that all appropriate steps were taken to minimise the impact on local communities. In conjunction with Fire & Rescue NSW a safe zone was established around the cooling tower.

The company said the extent of the damage to the cooling tower will need to be assessed, and the cause of the incident will be the subject of a thorough investigation.

The facility has not resumed operation. The shut down, understandably, is impacting the company’s ability to supply packaging converters with their regular volumes, and in some instances, as PKN understands from its sources, polyethylene demand will need to be supplemented from overseas sources.

PKN spoke to Aleks Lajovic, managing director of plastic tube manufacturer Impact International, which depends on Qenos for its supply of low-density polyethylene raw material.

“Impact International always purchases Australian-made when we can and Qenos plays an important role in our supply chain. We were relieved to hear that nobody was hurt and look forward to Qenos returning to full operational status as quickly as possible,” Lajovic said.


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