US Westlake declares force majeure on PVC after VCM plant blast

30 March 2012 22:47  [Source: ICIS news]

This is PVCHOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based vinyls producer Westlake declared force majeure on its resin products after a 22 March explosion and fire at its vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant in Geismar, Louisiana, the company said on Friday.

In its notification to customers and distributors, the company did not specify a length of time for the force majeure nor the amount of curtailment on allotments, Westlake spokesman David Hansen said.

The company is still investigating the cause of the explosion and has begun repairs, Hansen said. The blast primarily affected one VCM facility. There were no injuries, according the company.

In addition to VCM, the facility manufactures polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the primary end-product in the chlor-alkali sector.

The explosion occurred around 8:00 hours Geismar time (14:00 hours GMT) and the fire was contained at about an hour and 20 minutes later, according to local officials.

Unknown amounts of VCM, hydrochloric acid and chlorine gas were released during the accident, although no offsite impact was detected, according to an official with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

By: Ken Fountain

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