An explosion and fire that ripped through ARCO Chemical Co.'s Channelview, Tex., petrochemical complex early this month has jolted U.S. petrochemical and gasoline markets. The July 5 accident killed 17 workers, raising anew concerns over safety practices in the Houston area's vast petrochemical/refining infrastructure. It was the second major disaster involving significant loss of life at a Houston area petrochemical plant in less than a year. An explosion and fire at Phillips 66 Co.'s Houston Chemical Complex at Pasadena, Tex., killed 23 workers and injured 130 Oct. 23, 1989. The earlier acc...

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