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LyondellBasell investigates cause of chemical leak at its site in La Porte

July 29/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An All Clear alarm sounded Wednesday after last night's deadly chemical leak at the LyondellBasell facility in La Porte. Now that the situation is officially under control, the company says site personnel can investigate the cause of the leak, according to local media outlet KHOU-11.

Officials said the incident left two contractor workers dead and put six others, including five contractors and an employee, in the hospital with burns.

LyondellBasell said Wednesday at least 30 people were injured; a majority of them have been hospitalized after breathing in toxins.

Emergency crews responded to the facility around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at 1515 Miller Cut-Off Road. They said the leak happened in the acetyls unit of the plant.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said there was a small chemical release that was contained just to the plant. They said the chemicals involved were used to make medical supplies and food-grade vinegar.

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality described the chemical as a mixture of catalyst, acetic acid, methyl iodide, and hydrogen iodide. LyondellBasell said up to 100,000 pounds of acid was released during the incident.

La Porte Office of Emergency Management confirmed the leak was contained to the facility, and there is no threat to the surrounding public.

Harris County Pollution Control is at the scene conducting air monitoring. They said the leak has been isolated, and air monitoring at the facility perimeter indicates no offsite impact.

They also said there is no active shelter-in-place order. HCFMO determined there was no explosion nor fire, so the investigation has been turned over to Harris County Pct. 8 Constable.

LyondellBasell released the following statement Wednesday on the deadly incident: "The LyondellBasell La Porte Complex gave the all clear for the incident involving its acetyls unit leak. Our response team acted quickly to isolate and contain the leak. Approximately 100,000 pounds of a mixture which includes acetic acid was released. Cleanup is continuing at this time. Air monitoring conducted during the incident did not indicate actionable levels and monitoring is ongoing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chemical Safety Board were all notified of the incident. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident is underway, and we are cooperating fully with authorities."

The complex produces 544,000 tonnes/year of acetic acid and 385,000 tonnes/year of vinyl acetate monomer (VAM).

As MRC informed earlier, LyondellBassel's La Porte, Texas, cracker was heard to be offline again after a short-lived restart, reported S&P Global with reference to sources familiar with operations' statement on July 23. The cracker had been confirmed as back online July 20, but, according to one market source, it was shut again not long after.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 953,400 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, which virtually corresponded to the same figure a year earlier. High density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its 13,000 employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, and improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:vinilacetat, propylene, copolymer, ethylene, petrochemistry, LyondellBasell, USA.
Category:General News
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