Fire breaks out at ExxonMobil’s Baytown chemical complex

A fire has occurred at ExxonMobil’s olefins plant in Baytown, Tex. Emergency response teams have responded to and are working on extinguishing the July 31 fire, East Harris County Manufacturers Association said in a post to its web site.

A fire has occurred at ExxonMobil Corp.’s olefins plant in Baytown, Tex.

Emergency response teams have responded to and are working on extinguishing the July 31 fire, East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA) said in a post to its Community Awareness Emergency Response web site.

As a precaution, EHCMA said its industrial hygiene staff will conduct air-quality monitoring around the complex and in the surrounding community.

At ExxonMobil’s request, the city of Baytown also has issued a precautionary order to shelter in place as a result of the fire, which occurred in a unit that contains polypropylene material, the city said in a series of posts to its official Twitter account.

Additional details regarding the incident have yet to be released.

John Maselli, a senior research analyst with Wood Mackenzie, said, “At this time, it is difficult to gauge the full impact of the fire on the greater ExxonMobil Baytown complex. The duration and magnitude of the market impact will be determined by the extent of the damage and what units and chemical value chains are affected."  

Located on about 3,400 acres along the Houston Ship Channel, about 25 miles east of Houston, ExxonMobil’s Baytown complex includes a 584,000-b/d refinery, integrated chemical, olefins, and plastics plants, as well as a global technology center. WoodMac estimates about 45% of ExxonMobil's installed US chemical capacity is in Baytown, Maselli noted.

ExxonMobil Chemical Co. most recently started up its 1.5 million-tpy ethane steam cracker at the Baytown complex, which provides ethylene feedstock for two 650,000-tpy high-performance polyethylene lines that began production in fall 2017 at the company’s plastics plant in Mont Belvieu, Tex. (OGJ Online, July 26, 2018).

ExxonMobil also recently let a contract to a consortium of Maire Tecnimont SPA subsidiary Tecnimont SPA and Performance Contractors Inc. to provide front-end engineering design, early execution studies, and early procurement activities for new process units—including a 400,000-tpy Vistamaxx performance polymer unit as well as a 350,000-tpy linear alpha olefins unit—as well as associated offsites and utilities as part of the operator’s recently approved $2-billion project to expand the Baytown complex (OGJ May 16, 2019; May 3, 2019).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@endeavorb2b.com.

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