Oil facilities face serious liquefaction risk in Tokai, Kansai, Tokyo

Kyodo

Liquefaction is highly likely to disrupt around 43 percent of the petrochemical complexes on the Pacific coast if a feared magnitude-9 quake hits the Nankai Trough off central and western Japan, government researchers said Monday.

It is also likely to affect a quarter of all such facilities near the capital if a magnitude-7 quake hits Tokyo.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will support the owners of the complexes and accelerate the implementation of disaster prevention measures. The government did not disclose the names of the complexes at risk.

The research data were presented at a meeting of oil and natural gas experts who also discussed a joint oil stockpile with producers in the Middle East, prompting the government to consider expanding it. METI plans to compile a report on oil supply in times of disaster this summer.

The liquefaction research data covered petrochemical complexes in 6,154 locations run by 25 business entities.

According to the data, 1,441 of the 3,327 petrochemical locations in the central Tokai region and further west are highly likely to be hit by liquefaction during a Nankai Trough quake.

In the Tokyo scenario, 707 of 2,827 petrochemical locations in Tokyo Bay and other part of the Tokyo metropolitan area will be at high risk of liquefaction if a magnitude-7 quake strikes, the research said.

At the meeting, local government officials called on the government to improve national disaster prevention measures.

One participant said the government should come up with steps to ease restrictions in emergencies, referring to the disruption in gasoline supplies that occurred when roads were damaged by the magnitude-9 quake off the coast of Tohoku in March 2011.