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Bloomberg: Shell Shuts Texas Ethylene Plants After Steam Supply Is Lost

By Jack Kaskey

May 16 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, shut two ethylene plants at a Texas production complex this month after it lost steam power and released tons of chemicals into the air around Houston.

The Deer Park, Texas, complex lost steam from an external supplier on May 2 and flared chemicals from the Olefins 2 and Olefins 3 units for most of the next day, the London-based Shell said today in a filing on the Web site of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Shell said it didn’t disclose the incident earlier because the state reporting system was unavailable.

Both units are currently operating at normal rates, Shell spokeswoman Dave McKinney said in an e-mail. He didn’t say when they resumed production. The two plants together can annually produce 1.4 million metric tons of ethylene, a key raw material in plastics, Shell said on its Web site. The plants account for more than 1 percent of global ethylene output.

The shutdowns resulted in the airborne release of dozens of contaminants, including 2,420 pounds of ethylene, 1,782 pounds of propylene, 1,622 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 4,700 pounds of volatile organic compounds, Shell reported.
Shell is the world’s fourth largest ethylene producer, behind Dow Chemical Co., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., according to Banc of America Securities.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in New York at [email protected] .

Last Updated: May 16, 2007 18:45 EDT

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