Seven injured in fire at Texas crude oil terminal, operations near normal

Photo courtesy of Sunoco Logistics.

(Reuters) A flash fire injured seven workers at a construction project at Sunoco Logistics crude oil terminal in Nederland, Texas, Friday, a company spokesman said on Saturday.

"Seven employees of a contractor working on site were injured, four of them critically, in what appeared to be a flash fire involving a crude-oil pipeline connection," said Sunoco Logistics spokesman Jeffrey Shields.

According to Shields, four of the workers were taken to burn centers in Houston, Galveston and Beaumont, Friday. The other three were treated for minor injuries and released.

Marcus McLellan, a spokesman for Jefferson County Sheriff's office said the fire broke out while the workers were welding.

Shields said the injured workers were employed by L-Con Inc.

"We would like to reassure the public that there was no danger to residents who live near the plant," the sheriff's office said on Facebook.

Crude oil, condensate, naphtha, base and extract oils are stored at the facility, which has a total crude oil storage capacity of approximately 24 MMbbl in approximately 130 aboveground storage tanks and is connected to a 6,000-mile pipeline network stretching through the Southern and Midwestern United States., according to the company.

Operations at Sunoco Logistics' Nederland, Texas, crude oil terminal were near normal on Sunday as authorities investigated the flash fire, a company spokesman said.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun an investigation into the fire that broke out as the workers were preparing to connect pipe to new crude storage tanks at the Nederland terminal.

Initially, the workers were thought to have been welding pipe when the flash fire erupted. But Shields said it was unclear if they were actually welding pipe or preparing to weld pipe.

The workers were not engaged in connecting pipe that was carrying crude oil, Shields said.

Natural gas liquids and refined products are also stored at the Nederland terminal, which has marine off-loading facilities.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Addtional reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Alexander Smith and Peter Cooney

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