Damage to US Westlake's Louisiana VCM plant being assessed

26 March 2012 21:27  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US Westlake was still working to determine the extent of damage to its vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) facility in Geismar, Louisiana, after an explosion and fire on 22 March, a company spokesman said Monday.

Crews spent the weekend securing the VCM tower at the complex and were beginning to assessing the amount of damage, David Hansen said.  

It may be another one or two days before Westlake will be able to determine the extent of damage and how long it may take to repair the VCM tower. While the tower received the majority of damage, the entire integrated facility, which also produces polyvinyl chloride (PVC), remains off line, Hansen said.

The VCM plant has a capacity of 550m lb/year (250,000 tonnes/year), according to the company.

He stressed that all personnel at the plant were accounted for and there were no injuries.

Meanwhile, Westlake is reviewing its supply chain and holding discussions with customers about how to meet their requirements, he said.

Unknown amounts of VCM, hydrochloric acid and chlorine gas were released during the fire, although no offsite impact was detected, a spokeswoman from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said.

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By: Ken Fountain

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