Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Texas Petrochemicals sues three for damages due to pipeline fire

HOUSTON - Texas Petrochemicals is suing three companies, claiming its pipelines were damaged when their pipelines ruptured and started a fire.
Texas Petrochemicals filed the lawsuit on April 20 in Jefferson County District Court against UCAR Pipeline Inc., Dow Chemical Company and Union Carbide Corp.
Texas Petrochemicals says an ethylene pipeline in Port Arthur owned by UCAR ruptured around 2 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2007, resulting in an uncontrolled released of
ethylene. The ruptured pipeline in Port Arthur caused an explosion and fire, the complaint states.
Later, at about 3:45 a.m., a Texas Petrochemicals pipeline ruptured and caught fire. The fire was caused by metal fatigue that occurred because of flames from the burning UCAR pipeline, according to the suit.
Another Texas Petrochemical pipeline failed at about 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2007, also due to flame impingement from other ruptured lines, Texas Petrochemical says.
After the fire, two section of UCAR pipeline were found - one about 75 feet from the blast epicenter and the other about 300 feet from the blast epicenter, according to court records.
"Both sections of piping had their external coating intact, indicating that flames did not burn it away and suggesting these two sections of piping were from the initial segment of the UCAR line that failed," the suit states. "Both sections of piping exhibited severe external corrosion."
Reports in the Port Arthur News at the time said the blast woke residents in nearby neighborhoods and led officials to issue a Shelter In Place order. No injuries were reported.
The paper reported that UCAR shut off the supply to the pipeline, but residual material in the pipes burned for four days prompting crews to flush the lines instead of waiting until they burned out on their own.

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