Fire extinguished at LyondellBasell Berre complex in France
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Fire extinguished at LyondellBasell Berre complex in France

9:28 AM, 15th July 2015
Fire extinguished at LyondellBasell Berre complex in France
Fires that broke out at two storage units in LyondellBasell’s complex in Berre L’Etang, France, on Tuesday have been extinguished and production at the site is unaffected.

LONDON, UK: Fires that broke out at two storage units in LyondellBasell’s complex in Berre L’Etang, France, on Tuesday have been extinguished and production at the site is unaffected, according to a company spokesperson.

Fires broke out at a gasoline and a naphtha storage unit at the site at around 03:00 local time (01:00 GMT) on Tuesday, according to the company.

The gasoline tank fire was extinguished earlier this morning, according to LyondellBasell, while the naphtha tank fire was extinguished at 11:30 local time, according to the local state services department.

“The fire has been extinguished, and there is no effect to the production facility, which is running as normal,” a LyondellBasell spokesperson said.

Local press suggested that the incident could be down to a “malicious act” as the two tanks affected are reportedly 500 mts apart, and investigators for the Bouches-du-Rhone state services department are understood to be looking into the possibility that the fires were not accidental.

“At the moment it is too early to speculate on the cause of the incident,” said the LyondellBasell spokesperson. “It is correct that together with local authorities we are looking quite closely at the affected area, and will obviously support the authorities,” he added.

There is little risk of environmental or health impacts from the fire in the local area, according to the Bouches-du-Rhone support unit for the area’s ministry for energy, ecology and sustainable development.

The unit concluded that smoke from the fires is composed of 0.1 percent carbon monoxide, 1 percent carbon dioxide, various hydrocarbons and irritant gases in very small quantities, and a large amount of soot.

These products present in the plume are diluted in the air as the smoke travels and there is little risk of toxicity except in the case of long-term exposure, seen as unlikely in light of the wind direction and duration of transmission, the unit concluded.

The Berre petrochemical site includes a polyolefins complex consisting of a steam cracker, a butadiene extraction unit, and world-scale polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) plants, according to the company’s website.

© ICIS News

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