Fire at Borealis’ Stenungsund, Sweden cracker extinguished, return to operations unclear

Jonathan Lopez

10-May-2020

LONDON (ICIS)–A fire at Borealis’ steam cracker in Stenungsund, Sweden, which broke out yesterday had been extinguished by Sunday morning, the Austrian polyolefins and fertilizers major said.

The fire occurred at the cracker’s compressor at 20:45 local time on Saturday (9 May) and caused no injuries.

Flaring at the site is still expected on Sunday; flaring is the practise of burning off gas released during shutdowns or restarts.

A spokesperson at Borealis would not comment on a potential force majeure declaration, speaking to ICIS on Sunday afternoon.

It said it was too early to establish the root cause of the incident at the cracker’s compressor.

“We are currently analysing the impact of the fire,” it concluded.

The company is providing updates for local residents on this website (in Swedish).

Borealis’ Stenungsund cracker has production capacities of 625,000 tonnes/year for ethylene and 200,000 tonne/year of propylene.

Local emergency services triggered an alarm at 21.55, recommending residents in the area to stay indoors; the alarm was lifted at 05.15 on Sunday.

“Borealis is working closely and openly with the authorities to investigate the root cause of the incident, and will take every action to prevent a similar accident from happening again,” said Borealis.

At the end of April the company lifted a force majeure at the cracker, in place for most of the month after a technical issue.

The company also produces at the site low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE).

Front page picture: Borealis’ cracker in Stenungsund 
Source: Borealis

Update: Adds spokesperson comment on paragraphs 4-6

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