Insurance Journal: 2 Injured in Hydrogen Fluoride Leak at Marathon’s Galveston Bay Refinery

The Insurance Journal (Reuters) - Erwin Seba

Marathon Petroleum Corp. is investigating what caused a toxic chemical release that injured two workers on May 4 at a Texas City oil refinery, a spokesman said, as the U.S. industrial safety watchdog also began looking into the incident.

A release of hydrofluoric acid at the 585,000-bpd refinery on Texas’ Gulf Coast prompted workers and nearby residents to take shelter indoors with doors and windows closed and air conditioning turned off before the leak was contained.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) described the release as an undetermined amount of hydrogen fluoride, a toxic chemical that turns into a ground-hugging vapor cloud at room temperatures and can lead to severe health problems, even death. It was released from piping near an alkylation unit, said Hillary Cohen, a CSB spokeswoman.

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