A Dec. 22 fire has led to the shutdown of a plastics feedstocks plant operated by Formosa Plastics Corp. USA in Point Comfort, Texas.
No one was injured in the fire, which broke out around 3 a.m. at a unit making ethylene, propylene and other materials. The cause of the fire, according to a report filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, was "loss of containment" at a quench tower at the site.
The event caused the release of more than 5,000 pounds of ethylene, 1,000 pounds of propylene and smaller amounts of other materials such as benzene and butadiene, according to the report.
Company officials said in a news release that, as a precautionary measure, nonessential and contract personnel were notified to not report to work because of the location of the incident and the staging of emergency response assets on nearby facility roads. The incident "resulted in a large initial flame," they added.
A company spokesman said in an email to Plastics News that the company has not announced a restart date.
The olefins plant, with annual production capacity of 1.5 billion pounds of ethylene and propylene, could remain down through the end of January, if Formosa moves its planned turnaround of the unit, officials with the PetroChem Wire consulting firm said in a Dec. 22 report.
In addition to olefins, Point Comfort is a major production site of polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC resins for Livingston, N.J.-based Formosa.