14 June 2013 19:18 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Williams' ethane cracker in ?xml:namespace>
Williams officials identified the person who died in the accident as 29-year-old Zachary Green of
“We are grieving for the loss of Zack, who was part of our Williams community," said Williams CEO Alan Armstrong. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time of sorrow. We also remain deeply concerned about Williams’ personnel and contractors who sustained injuries, some quite serious.”
At a news conference on Friday afternoon, Williams officials said it was unknown at present the extent of the damage caused by Thursday’s explosion and fire, as well as when the plant would return to operation.
Some 77 people were injured in the incident at the olefins plant, located about 20 miles (32km) south of
The blast occurred at about 08:37 local time (13:37 GMT) Thursday. 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.
An ethylene fire burned near the ground following the explosion, and residual propylene generated smoke from the affected cracker stack, said Jean Kelly, a spokesperson with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ).
The fire was extinguished at about 14:00 local time Thursday, Williams officials said.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has emergency personnel on the scene and is coordinating with the LDEQ and multiple state and local partners in the response, said Jennah Durant, a spokesperson with the EPA’s Region 6 office in
The EPA began conducting air monitoring around the facility on Thursday afternoon and have continued into Friday, as has the LDEQ, Durant said. No air quality “levels of concerns to the surrounding community” have been detected, she said.
US Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat-California) has asked the federal Chemical Safety Board (CSB) to investigate the matter as well.
The CSB said on Friday that it is still assessing the situation and plans to make a decision on whether to get involved by day’s end.
The Geismar facility annually produces about 1.3bn lb of ethylene and 90m lb of polymer-grade propylene (PGP), according to the company’s website.
The plant had been in the middle of a turnaround as it expands its ethylene capacity to 885,000 tonnes/year from 613,000 tonnes/year, officials said.
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