August 14, 2016 / 10:00 PM / in 2 years

Sunoco Logistics Texas terminal operations near normal after fire

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Operations at Sunoco Logistics’ Nederland, Texas, crude oil terminal were near normal on Sunday as authorities investigated a Friday night flash fire that injured seven contract workers, a company spokesman said.

Four of the workers were taken to burn centers in Houston, Galveston and Beaumont, Texas on Friday, said Sunoco Logistics spokesman Jeffrey Shields. The other three were treated for minor injuries and released.

“Operations today are pretty much near normal,” Shields said of the giant southeast Texas terminal on the Gulf Coast that can store up to 24 million barrels of crude oil and is connected to a 6,000-mile (9,700-km) pipeline network stretching through the Southern and Midwestern United States.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun an investigation into the fire that broke out as the workers were preparing to connect pipe to new crude storage tanks at the Nederland terminal.

Shields referred questions about the condition of the four workers taken to burn centers to their employer L-Con Inc, which was hired by Sunoco Logistics to do construction work.

An L-Con representative did not reply on Sunday to a request for information about the employees.

Sunoco Logistics and L-Con are also probing what caused the flash fire.

Initially, the workers were thought to have been welding pipe when the flash fire erupted. But Shields said it was unclear if they were actually welding pipe or preparing to weld pipe.

“The investigation will determine that,” he said.

The workers were not engaged in connecting pipe that was carrying crude oil, Shields said.

Natural gas liquids and refined products are also stored at the Nederland terminal, which has marine off-loading facilities.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Peter Cooney

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