Fire/Explosion Protection

Fire Permanently Closes Philadelphia Energy Solutions

By Chemical Processing Staff

Jun 26, 2019

The early morning fire at Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) on June 21, which started in a unit used to create a component for high octane gas, was the second fire at the Pennsylvania-based refinery in a month. According to PES spokeswoman Cherice Corley, last week's fire caused three separate explosions on an alkylation unit. Four people suffered minor injuries but all were treated at the scene, Corley said. The June 10 fire resulted in no injuries.

The fallout from this latest incident has led to the shuttering of the facility. Philadelphia Energy Solutions CEO, Mark Smith, tweeted:

“Today, Philadelphia Energy Solutions made the difficult decision to commence shutdown of the refining complex. While our teams include some of the most talented people in the industry, the recent fire at the refinery complex has made it impossible for us to continue operations. We are grateful that the fire resulted in only a few minor injuries. I want to thank our employees for their hard work and dedication and to thank the Philadelphia community for their support. We are committed to an orderly process to safely wind down our operations. As part of the winddown, the company will position the refinery complex for sale and restart.”

Philadelphia Energy Solutions says the oil refining complex is the largest on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, producing 335,000 barrels of crude oil daily.

A CBS Philly story notes, “The news of PES’ closure comes on the heels of an investigation launched Monday. The city’s fire marshal’s office joined federal investigators from OSHA, the ATF and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to look into the cause of Friday’s fire and explosions. Officials say the investigation into the explosion and fire could take months or even years given the instability of the structures that need to be examined."