AT least two people were killed and six seriously injured in an explosion at BASF’s Ludwigshafen chemicals site in Germany, yesterday.
Two people are still missing, BASF said in a statement. Several others received light injuries, and were treated on-site before being treated at local hospitals.
“We are deeply saddened that employees have died and several have been injured. Our deepest sympathy lies with the affected people and their families,” said Uwe Liebelt, BASF’s Ludwigshafen site manager.
The explosion occurred at 11:30 local time as work was being carried out on a pipeline, which resulted in fires and a thick plume of black smoke. The pipelines caught up in the fire carry ethylene and propylene product. The fire was extinguished at 21:30 yesterday.
The site’s two steam crackers remain shut down, with a further 20 plants at the highly integrated site also shut down or running at reduced output. Covering an area 10 km2 and with 200 production plants, Ludwigshafen is the world’s largest chemicals complex, says BASF.
The chemicals major reports that continuous measurements outside the plant show no increased levels of toxic substances in the air or ground. The cause of the incident is under investigation and the relevant authorities have been informed, it added.
The explosion at Ludwigshafen came just hours after four others were injured 20 km away in a gas explosion at BASF’s Lampertheim facility. A spokesperson told The Chemical Engineer that “a deflagration took place at a filter in a plant for the production of additives for plastics”. Of the four injured, two are in hospital, and the others have returned to work. An investigation is underway.
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