Update: Explosion at Huntsman’s titanium dioxide production site in Germany
Fifteen people received medical assistance either on site or in hospital. Two people remain hospitalized for observation. There were no fatalities.
Emergency responders have cordoned off a 150-meter area surrounding the site, and access to the plant is restricted at this time. Despite damage to the building, it did not collapse as previously indicated in media reports. German authorities are running tests to determine if dust on the floor of the affected area contains asbestos. This is routine and based on the age of the building. Asbestos is not used in any aspect of the site’s operations. Cleanup will proceed upon approval of the authorities.
Huntsman Corporation President and CEO Peter Huntsman made the following statement Tuesday regarding the Uerdingen incident last week. The remarks were made at the Jefferies Industrials Conference.
“We experienced an outage at our Uerdingen, Germany, facility last week. The outage was caused by a vessel operated and maintained by a third-party. All of the associates who were affected are out of the hospital and are doing well. As we look at the overall impact this will have on the business going forward, the operability of the facility was not impaired and as soon as the investigation by local authorities and the clean-up is done, the plant will be fully operating again. We would expect this to be starting in phases as the investigation is completed. The front end of the plant, also known as the black end of the plant, should be starting up in the latter part of this week. Gradually, over the course of the next two to three weeks, we expect the entire facility to be up and operating. I would expect the impact of this to be in the low single-digit millions of dollars. We are cooperating with the investigation and will be working with the third-party as far as any compensation that will be due to our company.”
The Uerdingen site, located 30 kilometers north of Duesseldorf, employs approximately 600 Huntsman associates and contractors. The site produces TiO2, copperas, iron oxide, and products used in the manufacturing of plastics, coatings, paper, laminate, catalysts and ceramics. Huntsman acquired the Uerdingen site on Oct. 1, 2014, as part of its acquisition of the Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) businesses of Rockwood Holdings, Inc.
Further details will be shared as they become available at www.huntsmanresponds.com/go/doc/4683/2576686/