UpdateFire blazes after explosions at Enterprise Texas NGL complex

08 February 2011 20:59  [Source: ICIS news]

An Enterprise Products facility(adds paragraphs 4-6)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A fire erupted on Tuesday following explosions at an Enterprise Products natural gas liquids (NGL) complex in Mont Belvieu, Texas, sources said.

An official with the Mont Belvieu Police Department said that no orders for evacuation or shelter-in-place had been issued, adding that the department was unaware of any injuries.

However, market sources said one contractor was still unaccounted for as of 13:30 hours Houston time (19:30 GMT).

Enterprise Products confirmed that report, according to Houston CBS television affiliate KHOU. The station also said witnesses reported seeing workers fleeing from the plant.

Meanwhile, other workers were being told to stay inside, KHOU reported.

Enterprise Products did not respond to requests for further comment about the status of the complex, which is the largest underground storage facility for NGLs in the world.

Market sources said the explosions and subsequent fire occurred in an iso-octane unit on the west side of the complex, near several storage facilities. Those also are near a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) pipeline.

The storage facilities, which Enterprise acquired in 2001, consist of 30 salt-dome caverns with a total capacity of 77m bbl, according to the company’s website.

The facilities provide storage services for mixed natural gas liquids, ethane, propane, butanes, natural gasoline and olefins, Enterprise said.

Market sources speculated that the fire could persist for some time since it originated near the storage facilities.

Enterprise operates an NGL fractionation plant in Mont Belvieu. Overall, the NGL fractionation plant has a total capacity of 305,000 bbl/day, the company said on its website.

It fractionates mixed NGLs from several supply basins in North America, including the Mid-Continent, Permian Basin, San Juan Basin, Rocky Mountains, east Texas and the Gulf coast.

Market sources said NGL prices were offered higher following the fire, but few trades were likely to be completed until more information is released.

The fire started at 12:30 hours Houston time, KHOU reported. Mont Belvieu is located about 30 miles (48 km) east of Houston.

(Additional reporting by Sheena Martin and Al Greenwood)

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By: Ben DuBose
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