HOUSTON — Shell Chemical Co.'s olefins plant in Deer Park, Texas, will be fully operational in April, 10 months after an explosion and fire rocked the site.
The company's recently completed investigation of the June 22 accident determined that a stem ejected from a check valve on the unit, leaving a small hole that allowed natural gas to leak out.
The gas exploded when it came in contact with an ignition source, according to Dennis Winkler, community relations manager at Deer Park.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration still are investigating the incident, which did not result in any injuries.
Repairs are being made to damaged piping and electrical wiring at the site. Check valves also are being replaced.
The plant produces 2 billion pounds of ethylene, 1 billion pounds of propylene and 250 million pounds of butadiene each year at two olefins facilities.
The damaged facility was the larger of the two, but Shell declined to reveal how much of the plant's overall capacity has been affected.
The Houston-based company declared force majeure on ethylene, propylene and butadiene shortly after the incident.