UpdateMore than 30 injured in Williams olefins plant blast, fire

13 June 2013 17:54  [Source: ICIS news]

US Williams Louisiana cracker experiences explosion(Releads and updates throughout)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Emergency crews were working the scene on Thursday of an explosion and fire at Williams’s ethane cracker in Geismar, Louisiana.

The incident occurred at about 08:37 local time (13:37 GMT), Williams spokesperson Tom Droege said. First-responders were dispatched shortly after, and the company initiated an emergency shutdown of valves at the site and isolated the unit where the incident occurred, he said.

Approximately 30 people were taken by ambulance to area hospitals, said Jean Kelly, a spokesperson with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ). Three others were taken by helicopter to receive medical treatment, she said.

“We are in the process of accounting for all personnel,” Droege said. “Injuries have been reported, the number and extent of those injuries is not known at this point.”

The ethylene fire near the ground is nearly out, Kelly said, and residual propylene is generating smoke from the affected cracker stack.

The LDEQ has finished its first round of air monitoring near the site, with readings registering “non-detect”, she said. The air monitoring area is being expanded now, she added.

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 6 office is mobilising a team to help.

The Geismar facility annually produces about 1.3bn lb (590,000 tonnes) of ethylene and 90m lb of polymer-grade propylene (PGP), according the company’s website.

By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653

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