MOSCOW (MRC) - A plant near Lake Charles, Louisiana, of Westlake Chemical, US petrochemical major, experienced a fire and explosion on Wednesday morning, reported KPLC News.
An explosion was felt throughout the area and caused a plume of smoke that stretched across the sky.
Plant officials say an empty ethylene dichloride (EDC) tank exploded at about 10:45 local time. The cause is under investigation.
Six injuries have been reported at the plant, none of which appear to be life-threatening, Westlake Chemical spokesman Joe Andrepont said. One person was treated onsite and five people were transported to area hospitals.
Andrepont said at 11:30 a.m. that the fire had been extinguished, all shelters-in-place were lifted, and there were no vapors in the air.
The plant in Lake Charles has the production capacity of 2.22m tonnes/year of EDC. The plant provides EDC and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) manufacturing plants near Baton Rouge and New Orleans and in Mississippi.
As MRC informed earlier, Westlake Chemical has lifted its force majeure (FM) on US PVC and upstream VCM, the company announced in a customer letter dated May 17, 2021. The letter said the company was "formally lifting the systemwide force majeure condition for PVC and VCM manufactured and shipped from its North American operations that was originally declared on Feb. 19" as a result of mid-February's deep freeze that "resulted in a shutdown/curtailment of our plant operations."
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of unmixed PVC totalled 911,400 tonnes in January-November 2021, up by 7% year on year. The emulsion and suspension PVC market showed an increase in demand. November estimated consumption of SPVC in Russia was 79,340 tonnes versus 76,720 tonnes in October. Russian producers reduced their exports, and production increased after the completion of scheduled maintenance works.
Westlake Chemical Corporation is an international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes: ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, chlor-alkali and derivative products, PVC suspension and specialty resins, PVC Compounds, and PVC building products including siding, pipe, fittings and specialty components, windows, fence, deck and film.