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(LEAD) LG Chem sends officials to India over deadly gas leak

All News 15:35 May 13, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with LG Chem's plan to transport all 13,000 tons of styrene from LG Polymers India to its plant in S. Korea in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korean chemical giant LG Chem Ltd. said Wednesday that it has sent a team to India to find out the cause of a recent gas leak that killed 12 people.

A team of eight officials, led by Noh Kug-lae, president of the petrochemicals business, also plans to check the safety of LG Polymers India to prevent the reoccurrence of such an accident.

The chemical giant's action comes six days after the deadly gas leak that sickened more than a thousand near the plant in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

This AFP photo shows people gathering in front of the LG Polymers chemical plant in Visakhapatnam in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on May 7, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

LG Polymers India said last week that its initial investigations suggested that the cause of the incident is prima facie the leaking vapor from the styrene monomer storage tank.

Also Wednesday, LG Chem said it plans to ship all 13,000 tons of styrene from LG Polymers India to its plant in the South Korean industrial city of Yeosu.

The move is in line with the Indian government's order.

LG Chem's plant in Yeosu, located about 455 kilometers south of Seoul, imports 170,000 tons of styrene per year.

LG Polymers India, an affiliate of LG Chem, has created a special task force to help victims and families resolve any related issues and provide assistance to the bereaved families.

Noh is set to meet with local residents affected by the accident to explain the company's assistance measures. He also plans to meet with Indian officials.

On Friday, India's National Green Tribunal directed LG Polymers India to deposit an initial amount of 500 million Indian rupees (US$6.6 million) for the damage caused by the gas leak, according to The Hindu, an Indian English-language newspaper.

The LG Polymers plant, which LG Chem acquired from Hindustan Polymers in 1996, produces a wide range of polystyrene, including engineering plastic, an industrial raw material for automobiles and electronic parts.


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