, Port Arthur, Texas

May 16, 2012

BASF investigates cause of isolated propylene spill

The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Officials with BASF’s Port Arthur plant are working to determine the cause of an isolated propylene spill which occurred Wednesday morning.

The plant is currently in maintenance shutdown mode meaning that basically no product activity is ongoing at the site. The plant has been in the shutdown since April.

“Earlier this morning, a nearby pipeline inadvertently created a backflow of propylene material into our processed area,” Carol Hebert, BASF manager of community and government affairs, said of the incident that occurred about 9:15 a.m. May 16. “Because we are in shutdown we were not expecting any activity.”

Immediate employees noticed the product and went into emergency mode. They learned the spill was isolated and the situation was contained.

Hebert said the plant has a large number of contract employees because of the maintenance shutdown and those nonessential contract employees were released from work early.

No evacuation was called and there was no off-site impact, Hebert said. On-site air quality monitoring was performed and neither employees or the community was ever in any danger.

Officials with BASF will investigate to learn what caused the product to be released into the unit.

The nearby pipeline that was the site of the spill, isn’t owned by BASF but is used when the facility is in production mode, she added.