And they say the risk is negligible: Four hurt in LNG plant explosion in the US, people evacuated from two-mile radius

Published: March 31, 2014 at 9:37pm

LNG explosion

Times of Malta reports tonight:

A liquefied natural gas storage tank at a gassification facility in southeastern Washington state exploded early today, injuring four workers and requiring hundreds of nearby residents to be evacuated.

The fire and explosion damaged one of two storage tanks at the facility in Plymouth, Washington on the Columbia River separating Washington and Oregon. The explosion occurred at about 8:22 a.m. Pacific time.

In addition to the estimated 17 Williams workers at the facility, local firefighters said they told residents within a two-mile (3.2 km) radius of the area were told to evacuate.

There are two tanks at the Plymouth facility. Each tank is capable of holding 1.2 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas. Officials at Williams could not immediately confirm how big the storage tanks are.

The United States uses about 71 bcf of gas on average per day.

Michele Swaner, a spokeswoman for facility owners Williams, said they were still investigating the cause of the incident. She said the injured person had burns and they expect him to recover.

She said each tank was about half full, which means that about 0.6 billion cubic feet of gas either burned or escaped into the atmosphere.

Read the rest of the story via the link below.

36 Comments Comment

  1. Quebramar Dive Antartica 2010 says:

    Kollox bir-relax.

  2. P Sant says:

    Was this a land plant or was it on a ship on rough seas?

  3. A+ says:

    Oh look, the 1 in 10,000 chance came early.

    I pray for God to put some sense in the people who are pushing for this.

  4. Anthony says:

    That will take us, in our case, practically to Rahal-il-Gdid.

    Including Zejtun, Marsascala, Zabbar, B’Bugia. M’Xlokk, Gudja, Ghaxaq and Tarxien.

    Some evacuation!

  5. Antoine Vella says:

    The residents of Plymouth (WA) can rest easy now. Experts assure us that such accidents happen only once in a 100,000 years so, for the next 99,999 years, they are safe.

    However, as a precaution, I suggest the government widens the road from Marsaxlokk to Bir id-Deheb. You know, in case the residents have to leave in a hurry. We don’t want traffic jams to hinder the mass exodus, do we?

    As can be seen from this Google map the tanks are quite far from the tiny village of Plymouth (about 2 kilometres but the residents had to be evacuated anyway.

  6. edgar says:

    Our ambassador, Micallef Leyson living in Washington, must have heard the bang and immediately called Joseph Muscat to inform him.

    • Stella Maris Parish says:

      Our ambassador in Washington is probably having a bit of a bang herself.

      The first thing she did when she went there was advertise herself as being in need of one.

    • observer says:

      Sorry, the place involved is in Washington state – on the North West coast of the USA – not Washington D.C. where our Ambassador expects her bang.

  7. Makjavel says:

    Konrad phones Konrad to advise Konrad of an emergency at the LNG plant.

    Now that is the solution to get fast emergency response.

    Konrad talking to himself.

    This is usually a sign of madness.

  8. Harry Purdie says:

    Jo said that, under him, the economy will boom. He got that right.

  9. C Falzon says:

    That is some 30,000 cubic metres in liquified form, about one fifth of what the LNG Gemini will contain when full.

    • Jozef says:

      In fact the Gemini has five of those tanks.

      If you look at the plant in question the two tanks are at a considerable distance from each other.

      Not so on a ship which isn’t designed to hold gas permanently moored in a bay. If one of the tanks ruptures, all the others are at risk.

      That’s the reason why all floating storage/regasifiers are placed offshore, gets rid of all third party concerns. One must take into consideration insuring any such idea. Surely this country’s human resources are an asset.

      The question to ask Konrad, Muscat et al is; if a minor incident has to happen on board the ship, what’s the plan?

      The situation in Plymouth is passive monitoring of the situation, they’ve been at it for more than 48 hours now, the same cannot be said possible of Marsaxlokk, how does Konrad plan to manage a similar scenario?

      Risk assessment my ass. This madness has to stop. We can’t allow the spite to take over common sense and rational calculation of all possible situations.

      And don’t give me objectors were absent.

      The argument against this project is very simple, the proposal is the inverse of how it’s done. If a proper risk assessment were in place, the design criteria of the project would render it impossible to execute.

      Anything else is Bhopal or Seveso territory. I think major class action is in order, individuals to be held personally responsible should anything happen.

      That includes all members of the MEPA board who voted for the project without the required reports. reports which results and conclusions would be absolutely predictable.

      Muscat has to stand by his letter to the board and what it implies, the one where he states he’ll push on, no matter what. A copy makes the perfect evidence in court.

      How’s that for tixwix?

  10. Dissident says:

    And this in a country where they take security and health and safety seriously

  11. ciccio says:

    “You see, it’s a sabotage by the PN. They did it on purpose on Jum Il-Helsien.”

  12. ciccio says:

    Explosion risk remains, says Reuters.

    “…where an explosion occurred earlier on Monday and another is still a possibility, a local emergency responder said.”

  13. Antoine Vella says:

    The gas which escaped was about 0.6 billion cubic feet. This is equivalent to about 17 million cubic metres.

    Since LNG expands by 600 times when it become a gas, 17 million cubic metres of gas mean 28,000 cubic metres of LNG.

    At Delimara there will be a ship with 125,000 cubic metres of LNG.

  14. Salvu says:

    Not an April fool …..

    Gas pipeline blast and a potential blast which would cause havoc in a 2 miles radius

    • Jozef says:

      But this is it, a gas leak and the subsequent potential of an explosion requires immediate evacuation, safety procedures define non-intervention, ‘letting the incident follow its course’ as the only safe route to follow.

      There’s nothing one can do, except get everyone in the 2 mile radius out, (that figure derives from matching the density of the gas cloud within its ignition range) and wait for the gas to disperse.

      Basically wait for the tank in question to empty. It could take days, and the power plant would have to be shut down all the same. (If that’s not an ignition source).

  15. dutchie says:

    Must be the work of the Opposition again! They are trying to create panic.

    The timing of this is epic. Massive.

    [Daphne – FENOMENALI.]

  16. Adr says:

    The times were conservative in their reporting why?

    True story in the link

    • ciccio says:

      1. Number of injured is now five.

      “Fire officials are confirming that five people were injured in Monday morning’s explosion …”

      2. How a leak in a storage tank can be caused without sabotage. Jo please note.

      “The explosion at 8:19 a.m. inside a building at the Williams Northwest Pipeline facility sent shrapnel into a huge storage tank, causing a leak and risk of explosion within a two-mile zone, officials said.”

      3. LNG leaks and burns into fumes, and this can overwhelm those who may attempt to put processes back under control.

      “A large cloud of fumes floated in the area as the gas escaped into the air. Benton County deputies went door to door to get people out of homes and businesses. The fumes were causing officers to feel ill, said Sheriff’s spokesman Joe Lusignan.”

      • Jozef says:

        There is also such a thing called density stratification, when temperature gradients in the storage tanks cause layers to form, bubbling inside the tanks or pipework leading to pressure build up and plant failure.

        It’s the industry’s nightmare.

  17. Jozef says:

    A 2 mile radius ecacuation zone is standard procedure in the USA.

    20.00 to 21.45, outlines how authorities and operators arrived at determining the industry standard. Basically a mathematical approximation which doesn’t take into account the absence of real data.

    2 miles, or better, no chances are taken. Unlike our super minister.

    This video explains everything LNG. Those who’ll say it’s not an explosion, just a burn back, ignore the consequences of having the atmosphere engulfed in flames.

    Recent detonations recorded in other LNG incidents have put this burning back hypothesis in doubt as well.

    • Jozef says:

      ‘A unified response by all responders including industries in the area and the surrounding community’

      So, are the mayors of Marsaxlokk and Birzebbuga willing to train the residents in regular evacuation drills, and is AAron Farrugia willing to cooperate in establishing an emergency response plan at Malta Freeport?

      Oh sorry, US federal authority standards may not apply.

  18. bob-a-job says:

    They say the chances of that happening in Marsaxlokk are of once in 10,000 years.

    If you told anyone that two aircraft could hit two skyscrapers in the space of half an hour and within shouting distance of each other they’d have said you’re crazy.

    But that was before 9-11

  19. QahbuMalti says:

    You can already hear Konrad Mizzi at the press conference after, God forbid, an accident here “Nixtieq nirringrazzja it-tobba, li huma fenomenali, in-nurses li huma fenomenali, il-haddiema tas-Civil Protection li huma fenomenali, il-paramedics li kien fenomenali, id-drivers tal-ambulanzi lie kienu fenomenali u fl-ahhar il-prim ministru li nizel Delimara mieghi hu wera kemm hu vera bneidem fenomenali. Yes, MirYUM, that’s a good question – it only happens once every 10,000 years and we have been phenomenally unlucky but we can assure the families of all those who died that we are doing everything to understand what happened and to make sure this never happens again.”

    It is so Godawful to contemplate the catastrophe that will ensue. The sheriff said two-miles blast radius in that video there.

    • Jozef says:

      It’s not a blast radius, it’s the area inside which gas can propagate within its flammable limit.

      Instead of being blown to bits, you’re incinerated, the air you breathe alight.

      In Viareggio, a ruptured train truck carrying propane produced a firestorm which raged all night, fire trucks and emergency services unable to get anywhere near some of the streets, petrol tanks in cars parked outside houses ruptured progressively as temperatures rose, fuelling the flames.

      Video shows cars in flames 300 meters from the train station where the gas propagated. And that’s your average road trailer.

      Notice how the station is relatively intact, it was upwind.

  20. Pippa says:

    The PM is following Mintoff’s steps. The latter once said ” nigi nit…..k mill- kostutuzjoni” and the former ” jigi jaqa’ u jqum mill-poplu Malt”.

    Xlukkajri u Birzebbuggin ” Viva Joseph. Viva Konrad”.

  21. Pippa says:

    You see, Eddy Privitera – accidents at LNG plants do happen.

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