Marathon Petroleum refinery in Texas issues alert over chemical leak

HOUSTON (Reuters) -Marathon Petroleum Corp's 585,000-bpd Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, on Tuesday issued a shelter-in-place notice because of a toxic leak, said people familiar with plant operations.

Marathon and Texas City officials ordered workers and nearby residents to go indoors and close windows for over an hour due to a leak of hydrofluoric acid (HF), said the people, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity. Hydrofluoric acid forms a ground-hugging cloud at room temperature that can lead to severe health problems and even death.

Two workers were taken to a nearby medical facility as a precaution due to a chemical leak at the plant, said Marathon spokesman Jamal Kheiry. He did not disclose the chemical involved.

"The Galveston Bay Refinery's automated response systems today activated mitigation measures in response to a small chemical release," Kheiry said in a statement. "The release has been stopped and air monitoring data indicate no offsite impact."

A Texas City spokeswoman said the city's fire department assisted Marathon with the incident for about an hour and a half beginning at 3:30 p.m. local time (2030 GMT).

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