Gas Pipeline Leak in Baytown, Texas Prompts Evacuation

ExxonMobil Logo - image from Offshore Energy Today

A pipeline leak of a highly flammable chemical was reported outside of an ExxonMobil plant in Baytown, Texas on Sunday morning, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents and a shelter-in-place warning that was enforced until Sunday afternoon.

No injuries resulted from the leak that extended from the largest chemical plant and oil refinery complex in the country.

Emergency responders successfully shut down two valves to stop the leak. An ExxonMobil spokeswoman reported: “The release has been stopped and the pipeline has been safely isolated. We are preparing to safely conduct repairs on the pipeline. We appreciate the assistance of the Baytown Police and Fire Departments, who ensured a safe and effective response. We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience this caused to nearby residents."

ExxonMobil is working on identifying the cause of the leak which is currently unknown and will not restart the pipeline until it is clear to do so.

The gas released from the pipeline is propylene, a highly flammable, colorless fuel gas that is produced during the refining of gasoline. The chemical can also be used to make acetone and plastics.

Houston Chronicle