Imperial gasoline unit down, impacts unclear

14 December 2006 14:52  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--The explosion and fire at Imperial Oil’s refinery at the Sarnia petrochemicals hub in Ontario on Thursday morning occurred at the facility’s gasoline processing unit, a company spokesman said on Thursday.


Calgary-based spokesman Pius Rolheiser told ICIS news in a telephone interview that the rest of the refinery was not affected.


He added that it was as yet too early to comment of what impacts the accident may have on supplies from the refinery.


The cause of the accident was unclear, Rolheiser said, but added that Imperial would conduct a thorough investigation.


Firefighters brought the blaze under control and were letting the fire burn itself out, he said.


There were no injuries, Rolheiser said, confirming earlier information by the Sarnia fire department. Air monitoring at the site is showing that nearby residents are not impacted, he added.


The 119,000 bbl/day refinery supplies feedstock to Imperial’s adjacent gas-fed ethylene plant, Rolheiser said.


John Cummings, a Toronto-based independent petrochemicals analyst, said that damage to the refinery could potentially impact feedstock supplies to the gas cracker and thus ethylene and Imperial’s downstream polyethylene production at the site.


Other chemical product made by the refinery and associated units include benzene, toluene and xylene, propylene, higher olefins and hydrocarbon solvents, Cummings said.


Imperial is majority-owned by ExxonMobil.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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