Explosion, fire hits Philadelphia refinery

An investigation is under way into a massive fire and explosion that occurred early June 21 at Philadelphia Energy Solutions’s combined 335,000-b/d refining complex in Philadelphia.

Jun 21st, 2019

An investigation is under way into a massive fire and explosion that occurred early June 21 at Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC’s (PES) combined 335,000-b/d refining complex in Philadelphia.

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying a four-person team to investigate the explosion and fire at the site, CSB said.

While PES did not respond to inquiries from OGJ regarding the incident, the operator confirmed a series of three separate explosions occurred in an alkylation unit at the site, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The fire, which prompted a temporary shelter-in-place for residents in the surrounding area and injured five refinery workers, has presumably halted operations at the site, which is made up of both the Point Breeze and Girard Point refineries.

“Gasoline inventories are already low and this will put additional pressure on the system. However, at this stage it is difficult to gauge the full impact of the fire,” said Mark Broadbent, Wood Mackenzie’s principal analyst of North America refining.

“The duration and magnitude of the market impact will be determined by the extent of the damage, how quickly the refinery can recover, and how much other refineries increase production to fill market demand,” Broadbent added.

Footage of the blast aired by local news affiliates showed portions of unidentified equipment at the refinery propelling into the air and flames engulfing surrounding units at the site, with reports of local residents feeling the explosion for miles.

Further details regarding the extent of the incident on operations at the refinery have yet to be revealed.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@endeavorb2b.com.

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