Marathon Galveston Bay worker burned as overhaul starts: source

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A worker at Marathon Petroleum Corp’s Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, was burned by hydrofluoric acid on Saturday while working on an alkylation unit, which was shut as part of a planned three-month, multi-unit overhaul, a source familiar with plant operations said on Sunday.

The worker was taken to an area hospital “as a precautionary measure,” Marathon spokesman Brandon Daniels said. He provided no details about the incident.

The 31,500 barrel per day (bpd) HF Alkylation Unit 3 is one of several units shut for the overhaul at the 451,000 bpd refinery that includes the 120,000 bpd gasoline-producing Fluidic Catalytic Cracking Unit 3, the largest of two FCCUs at the plant. FCCU 3 was shut on Tuesday.

HF alkylation units produce high-octane gasoline components from refining by-products in a catalyst made from the acid. In addition to being corrosive to skin and eyes, hydrofluoric acid can cause fatal damage to the respiratory system.

The refinery, while under the ownership of BP Plc, was the site of the deadliest refinery accident in the past decade when 15 workers were killed in a March 23, 2005 explosion that injured 180 people.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Alan Crosby