Environmental Health & Safety

CSB Cites Faulty Pipe For Philadelphia Refinery Fire

By Chemical Processing Staff

Oct 18, 2019

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board concludes that a corroded pipe fitting, found to be half the thickness of a credit card at its thinnest point, led to the June 21 fire and explosions at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery, according to an article from Reuters. The pipe failure reportedly caused the release of 3,200 pounds of hydrofluoric acid into the atmosphere.

According to the article, three separate explosions hurled fragments of the refinery across highways, causing a fire that could be seen for miles and destroying an alkylation unit that uses HF to produce components of high-octane gasoline. Five people reportedly suffered minor injuries. The company filed for bankruptcy a month later and the refinery – the largest on the U.S. east coast – was shut down. The Reuters article notes that corroded pipe was also responsible for a 2012 explosion at Chevron’s Richmond, California refinery and a 2009 blast at the Silver Eagle refinery in Woods Cross, Utah.

Read the entire article here.