Unit remains shuttered at Shell’s Pulau Bukom complex

An investigation remains under way into a fire that broke out at an unidentified unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s Pulau Bukom manufacturing site on Bukom Island, Singapore, which houses a 500,000-b/d refinery, 1 million-tonne/year (tpy) ethylene cracker complex (ECC), and 155,000-tpy butadiene extraction plant (OGJ Online, Aug. 21, 2015).

The Aug. 21 fire, which was extinguished by on site emergency responders within an hour of its occurrence, resulted in burn injuries to six contract workers, three of whom remained hospitalized as of 9 a.m. Singapore local time on Aug. 22, Shell said in its latest update on the incident.

While Shell has yet to identify either the specific Pulau Bukom plant or unit at which the fire struck, the company now confirms that the unit was undergoing scheduled maintenance at the time of the event.

Units currently involved in ongoing inspection, repair, and maintenance work at the refining portion of the Pulau Bukom manufacturing site include crude distillation unit No. 5, high vacuum unit No. 5, and the hydrocracker, according to information available from the Singaporean government and a Singapore-based contractor involved in scheduled 2015 turnaround projects at the complex.

Shell said it is continuing to work closely with the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) to investigate the cause of the incident.

Aside from the unit in question, there remains no other impact to operations at the manufacturing site, the company said.

SCDF and Shell’s on site fire department previously battled a 32-hr blaze that broke out at the Pulau Bukom refinery on Sept. 28, 2011, in what ultimately became a national civil emergency requiring an 8-day, multigovernment agency operation to fully resolve, according to a description of the incident on SCDF’s web site.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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