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Incident At Chevron Phillips Baytown Plant Sends Black Smoke In Air

An “unplanned operational issue” at the Chevron Phillips plant at Baytown, Texas, occurred on Thursday morning, the Houston Chronicle reports, citing company officials and showing photos of thick black smoke rising from the plant.

There is no danger to any plant employees or the community, company officials said in a post on the Community Awareness Emergency Response, (CAER) Online portal, where plants can post advisories about events or incidents.

According to company officials, cited by the Houston Chronicle, the company is working “to minimize noise, light or smoke” after the unplanned operational issue.

The incident comes two months after a fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) storage site at Deer Park, Texas, which blazed for days and halted some ship traffic at the Houston port. Back then, residents of Deer Park and Galena Park were told to stay indoors, and schools canceled classes for several days.

In December 2018, Chevron Phillips Chemical said that it had successfully started up operations of a new ethane cracker at its Cedar Bayou facility in Baytown.

Chevron Phillips Chemical aims to expand the chemical operations with a project estimated to be worth US$5.8 billion that would create 3,500 construction jobs.

Earlier this month, Greg Garland, chief executive at Phillips 66, told the annual shareholders’ meeting that Chevron and Phillips 66 were still evaluating sites about the multi-billion-dollar expansion, the Houston

Chronicle reported.

The Sweeny and Orange locations are emerging as front runners, according to Garland, because the Cedar Bayou location in Baytown already has an ethane cracker and could face limitations in permitting. Cedar Bayou is also close to an ExxonMobil ethane cracker in the area.

Chevron and Phillips 66 are expected to make a final investment decision on the expansion project next year, and potentially start up the new facility in 2023 or 2024, Garland said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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