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Petrochemical plant blast due to fundamental failure - US safety board

December 10/2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A Nov. 27 explosion at the TPC Group TPCL.UL petrochemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, was due to a "fundamental failure in the system," reported Reuters with reference to US Chemical Safety Board member Manuel Ehrlich's statement.

The specific event that triggered the early morning blast has yet to be determined, Ehrlich said.

The latest update from the Port Neches Response website sayd the fire on November 27 impacted 12 tanks on site. Plans are underway to safely transfer all remaining materials from the site, based on mechanical integrity inspections of tanks.

All tanks containing materials are being evaluated and prioritized for transfer. To further secure and safely transfer remaining materials from the site, technical experts with TPC Group will introduce inhibitors to stabilize materials being transferred. Options to safely transport materials from the site are being assessed.

Air Monitoring update: Air monitoring around the site and in the community continues to show no actionable butadiene levels. Unified Command, comprised of federal, state, local agencies and TPC Group, remains diligent in efforts to monitor air quality. Monitoring coverage, by various state, federal, and local agencies, extends throughout the county and is providing real-time air quality data to Unified Command.

Occasional elevated air measurements may continue to register as response teams secure the site. In the last 24-hours, experts have collected 4,364 air monitoring readings in the community. All of these readings were below actionable levels.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency, is still onsite as a third-party resource dedicated to reviewing the environmental data provided by Unified Command and will communicate findings once they are available.

Located adjacent to the Sabine Neches River, which is part of the Sabine Neches Waterway, TPC's Port Neches plant can produce more than 900 million lb (426,000 mt) of butadiene and raffinate a year, according to the company's website. The source familiar with company operations said the site has two butadiene lines with capacities of 166,000 mt/year and 260,000 mt/year. The MTBE unit at this site produces up to 400,000 mt/year.

Butadiene is one of the feedstocks for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, in Asia, the falling prices of feedstocks for ABS production have been pushing prices of material down in the Russian market. LG Chem's import prices for November quantities were as follows for Russian buyers: natural ABS - at USD1,400-1,420/tonne FOB Korea, black ABS - at USD1,610-1,630/tonne FOB Korea, white ABS - at USD1,640-1,660/tonne FOB Korea. December prices may drop by another USD30-50/tonn.
Natural grades of Korean ABS went down to Rb138,000-143,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, in the domestic market in mid-November, whereas black ABS was offered at Rb156,000-160,000/tonne and white ABS - at Rb158,000-163,000/tonne CPT Moscow , including VAT.

Headquartered in Houston, TPC was acquired in 2012 by private equity groups First Reserve and SK Capital.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PS, ABS, butadien, petrochemistry, TPC Group, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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