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Hydrogen fluoride leak at Marathon's Galveston Bay refinery came from piping

May 07/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Marathon Petroleum Corp is investigating what caused a toxic chemical release that injured two workers on Tuesday at a Texas City oil refinery, reported Reuters with reference to a spokesman's statement, as the US industrial safety watchdog also began looking into the incident.

A release of hydrofluoric acid at the 585,000-bpd refinery on Texas' Gulf Coast prompted workers and nearby residents to take shelter indoors with doors and windows closed and air conditioning turned off before the leak was contained.

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) on Wednesday described the release as an undetermined amount of hydrogen fluoride, a toxic chemical that turns into a ground-hugging vapor cloud at room temperatures and can lead to severe health problems, even death. It was released from piping near an alkylation unit, said Hillary Cohen, a CSB spokeswoman.

As MRC informed earlier, Marathon on Wednesday confirmed the release of hydrogen fluoride (HF) and said it had been contained and diluted by 1.1 million gallons of water.

"The automated response system worked as intended, deploying water cannons that prevented the estimated 90 lbs (40kg) of HF from moving beyond the unit," said Kheiry. Federal and state regulators have been notified, he said.

The leak from the 31,500 barrel-per-day (bpd) alkylation unit 3 began at about 3:30 p.m. local time (2030 GMT) on Tuesday, people familiar with plant operations told Reuters, adding that the refinery was later operating normally.

The company has said its air monitoring did not detect any impact of the release outside its facility.

We remind that most units were shut on Sunday night and Monday morning (15-16 February) at Marathon Petroleum Corp's 585,000 barrel-per-day Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, as temperatures plunged due to a Arctic cold front reaching the Gulf Coast. They resumed operations in the first half of March.

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 576,270 tonnes in the first three month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 410,890 tonnes in January-March 2021, up by 56% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, PP block copolymer, homopolymer PP, propylene, LDPE, HDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, Marathon, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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