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Barge explosion at New York tank farm killed two, injured one

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Feb. 24, UPDATE -- A Feb. 21 barge fire and explosion at the ExxonMobil Corp. Port Mobil terminal in Staten Island, NY, killed two Bouchard Transportation Co. Inc. employees and injured one ExxonMobil employee.

Bouchard issued a statement saying it was deeply saddened by the deaths of its employees, and that it had been in contact with their families.

"Investigators say they have not ruled out any possibilities as to the cause of this accident," Bouchard Transportation said. The company was working with the US Coast Guard as well as the New York police and fire departments.

Hank Muller, terminal manager for ExxonMobil, said ExxonMobil also was cooperating with authorities and regretted the injuries and loss of life.

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By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Feb. 21 -- A barge belonging to Bouchard Bargo Co. and containing gasoline exploded Friday, resulting in a fire at the ExxonMobil Port Mobil terminal in Staten Island, NY, that injured one person and left two persons missing, authorities said.

The barge containing 100,000 bbl of unleaded gasoline was being unloaded when the explosion occurred. One ExxonMobil employee has taken to a hospital. Two Bouchard employees are missing, ExxonMobil said.

Crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange temporarily spiked by more than $1/bbl Friday upon news of the explosion.

Greenpeace issued a news release questioning whether ExxonMobil filed a risk management plan for the facility with the Environmental Protection Agency as required under the Clean Air Act of 1999.

"It is inconceivable that a facility in such a populous location would not be required to file such a plan. The lack of an RMP in this case raises several questions," Greenpeace said.

"The air at ground level should pose no significant health effect," ExxonMobil said late Friday. "The combustion of gasoline creates mainly carbon dioxide and water. The black particles in the smoke are essentially soot."

The fire continued late Friday afternoon as the fuel from the barge and loading facilities burned off. The remaining product at the terminal was isolated from the fire.

A contract company, Clean Harbors, was sent to the site. Clean Harbors will begin clean-up work after the fire has been extinguished and the authorities give authorization to proceed.

Port Mobil is one of a number of terminals that supply the area. ExxonMobil is in the process of redirecting product to ensure that supply is available. One supplier, Colonial Pipeline, remains in operation upstream of the connection to the Port Mobil facility.

Port Mobil is at the southern end of New York Harbor on Arthur Kill. The site is 203 acres and has 39 operational tanks that hold premium gasoline, regular gasoline, low sulfur diesel, other distillates and jet fuel. There are 31 people employed at Port Mobil.

At the time of the incident, fewer than 500,000 (useable) bbl of product were being stored at the terminal. The terminal can hold up to 2.5 million bbl and has 8 berths.


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