June, 1997

This is a repeating event

199722JunAll DayShell (Deer Park) Explosion 1997Shell Chemicals Deer Park (US-TX)Industry:PetrochemicalsCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Deterioration Origin: Marsh Incident:VCEHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (On Site Injuries)Effects:< 100 InjuriesMaterial:Olefins


An explosion and large fire occurred in the olefins plant Number III at a petrochemical plant. The explosion was felt and heard more than 10 miles away and the ensuing fire burned for approximately 10 hours. The explosion and fire resulted in extensive damage to the facility and several workers received minor injuries. In addition, nearby properties were damaged, nearby transport routes were closed for several hours, and residents were advised to remain indoors. The incident originated at the cracked gas compressor system in the olefins unit and was caused by the structural failure of a 36-inch pneumatically-assisted non-return valve located on a high-pressure light hydrocarbon gas line. The escaping gas formed a vapor cloud and eventually found a source of ignition, resulting in the unconfined vapor cloud explosion.

[ Property Damage $135 Million. Estimated Current Value $250 Million ]

Image credit: Roy Luck