BAYTOWN, Texas (Oct. 2) — Bayer MaterialScience L.L.C. has temporarily shut down one of two toluene diisocyanate production lines at its Baytown plant following a Sept. 26 explosion at the polyurethane feedstock site that injured 22 people.
Bayer declared force majeure at the facility Sept. 29. The plant has annual capacity of about 200,000 metric tons and a good proportion of that comes from the damaged line, the firm said.
The company said the cost of damage in Baytown is not yet calculable. It did not give an estimate on how long the line would be shut down.
An international team of experts from Bayer is investigating the cause of the explosion in collaboration with authorities, the company said. The investigation is expected to take several weeks.
The explosion occurred about 11:30 a.m. Sept. 26 in a process vessel used to make TDI, according a spokesman with Pittsburgh-based Bayer. The injured were treated and released from local hospitals by the end of the day.
Customers who had received TDI from Baytown will be supplied from other Bayer locations.
The incident is the second at the site in the past 16 months. In June 2005, a maintenance mechanic died after being exposed to plastic feedstock phenol during an accidental release.