LG Chem sends team to India to probe deadly gas leak

People affected by a chemical gas leak are carried in a truck for medical treatment in Vishakhapatnam on May 7. (AP pic)

SEOUL: South Korea’s LG Chem said on Wednesday that it had sent a delegation to India to investigate the cause of a toxic gas leak at its chemical plant there that killed 11 people and forced 800 into hospital for treatment from poisoning.

LG Chem said the eight-member delegation, led by its petrochemicals business head, will brief support measures to affected residents and meet with India government officials.

The accident occurred some 14km inland from the east coast city of Visakhapatnam, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, at a plant operated by LG Polymers, a unit of South Korea’s biggest petrochemical maker, LG Chem.

LG Polymers’ plant uses styrene monomer as a feedstock to produce polystyrene products which are used in manufacturing electric fan blades, cups and cutlery.

Some 13,000 tonnes of styrene monomer stored at LG Polymers’ plant will be shipped to South Korea’s southwestern city of Yeosu, where LG Chem’s styrene monomer plant is located, a company spokesman said.

LG Chem typically imports about 170,000 tonnes per year of styrene monomer for its Yeosu plant to make petrochemical products including polystyrene, the spokesman added.