Chemical leak hits Shell’s Pulau Bukom facility

A chemical leak happened at Shell’s Pulau Bukom manufacturing site on Jan 9, 2017. — TODAY file pic
A chemical leak happened at Shell’s Pulau Bukom manufacturing site on Jan 9, 2017. — TODAY file pic

SINGAPORE, Jan 11 — A chemical leak occurred at Shell’s Pulau Bukom oil and petrochemical facility on Monday, prompting the oil giant to undertake “mitigating measures” and repair work to stop the leak.

In a separate incident early on Sunday, ExxonMobil said that a fire broke out at its Singapore chemical plant. No one was hurt in both incidents.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, a Shell spokesperson said that Monday’s chemical leak occurred at a unit already closed for maintenance at its Pulau Bukom manufacturing site. It was unclear what chemical was involved in the incident.

“For reasons of commercial confidentiality, we do not provide details about the operational status of individual units or information on supply,” the Shell spokesperson added.

The firm completed repairs on the unit on Tuesday to stop the leak, and is working closely with the relevant authorities to investigate the cause of the incident, the spokesperson said.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the leak on Monday afternoon. Its spokesperson said that as a precaution, it put resources on standby at the site throughout the leak-containment operation by Shell’s in-house contractors.

Meanwhile, an ExxonMobil spokesman in Singapore told TODAY that Sunday’s fire at its 100 Jurong Island Highway plant started at 5.30am. The blaze was extinguished by the firm’s in-house fire responders as well as firefighters from the SCDF.

The SCDF spokesperson said it was alerted to the incident about 5.45am that day. It sent three fire engines, one Red Rhino light fire-attack vehicle, an ambulance and seven support vehicles.

The fire was linked to residual hydrocarbon in a unit on the premises, and was put out by the SCDF in 25 minutes with a ground monitor, an unmanned firefighting machine and a water jet, supported by two fixed monitors from ExxonMobil’s in-house emergency-response team. 

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

The ExxonMobil spokesman said: “While we manage our business with the goal of preventing incidents, we’re prepared for emergencies should they occur, and can respond quickly and effectively.” — TODAY

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