The operator of a south Arkansas chemical plant that exploded in 2012 has filed a federal lawsuit in Oklahoma against a French company that supplied industrial gas for the facility. It’s claimed in the suit that the supplier is responsible for more than $100 million in damages and losses as result of the blast. El Dorado Chemical Company, which is part of Oklahoma City-based LSB Industries Inc., filed the lawsuit last month against Air Liquide. It’s alleged that Air Liquide was at fault for failing to properly maintain oxygen pipes at the nitric acid plant in El Dorado, Ark.
Air Liquide supplied the plant with gaseous oxygen used to make nitric acid. The 2012 explosion at the chemical plant occurred when the facility was restarted after being shut down for more than two weeks for maintenance. Fortunately, no one was injured. The lawsuit contends that the explosion was caused by contaminants in piping installed and maintained by Air Liquide. Contaminants in the pipes maintained by Air Liquide ignited a “violent oxygen fire” at the El Dorado plant “resulting in a catastrophic explosion,” the lawsuit said.
Last year, LSB Industries received a $113 million payment from its insurance company because of the blast. The company previously announced plans to build a $120 million replacement plant in El Dorado. It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit develops.
Sources: The Oklahoman, Miamiherald.com, and Associated Press
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