Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Plant fire at Enterprise Mount Belvieu facility drives down stock price

HOUSTON, Texas - Common units of Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD) dipped sharply on the afternoon of Feb. 8 on news of an explosion and fire at the company’s Mount Belvieu natural gas liquids processing facility.

The stock closed at $42.65, down $1.15 after hitting a low of $42.42.

One person was thought to be is missing after the fire Tuesday afternoon at the Enterprise petrochemical plant near Houston, a company spokesman said.

Enterprise spokesman Rick Rainey said that a contractor was unaccounted for after the fire started at 12:15 p.m. CST. "We're trying to determine his whereabouts," Rainey said.

Earlier, a local police dispatcher said that no injuries had been reported and that the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Enterprise's facility processes natural gas into chemicals used in plastic and tire manufacturing, as well as a fuel additive known as iso-octane. It is located in Mount Belvieu, a petrochemical hub north of the Houston Ship Channel, about 30 miles east of Houston.

The blaze erupted at the facility's western storage terminal, which holds NGLs, Rainey said.

He said the plant's main operating equipment was undamaged, but that the company might shut down the pipeline connected to the plant.

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