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Chemical leak hits Shell facility, fire at ExxonMobil plant in separate incidents

No injuries were reported in both incidents, the Singapore Civil Defence Force says.  

SINGAPORE: Two petrochemical giants in Singapore were hit by separate safety incidents this week - ExxonMobil's chemical plant on Jurong Island caught fire early on Sunday morning (Jan 8) and the next afternoon, a chemical leak occurred at Shell's Pulau Bukom manufacturing site.

No injuries were reported in both cases, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

In response to queries, Shell confirmed on Wednesday that the leak happened in a unit that was already shut down for maintenance. "Mitigating measures were immediately taken. Repairs were completed on Jan 10," said a spokesperson for the company. 

Shell added that "there is no adverse impact expected in the water or the surroundings" as a result of the leak. 

When asked about what chemical was leaked, Shell said it does not provide such details "for reasons of commercial confidentiality". 

"The cause of the leak is being investigated," its spokesperson added. "The safety of the community and our personnel, as well as the protection of the environment, remain our top priority."

SCDF said that as a precautionary measure, it deployed resources to be on standby at the site while Shell's in-house contractors carried out leak containment operations.

In August 2015, a fire at the same Shell facility injured six contractor workers.

EXXONMOBIL FIRE CAUSED BY RESIDUAL HYDROCARBON

The fire at ExxonMobil's Singapore chemical plant at 100 Jurong Island Highway started at about 5.30am. SCDF deployed three fire engines, a Red Rhino, an ambulance and seven support vehicles.

The fire was linked to residual hydrocarbon in one of the units within the premises, and was extinguished by SCDF within 25 minutes using a ground monitor, an unmanned fire-fighting machine and a waterjet, with the support of two fixed monitors from the in-house company emergency response team. 

ExxonMobil said it "regrets" the fire, adding that the company is investigating the cause of the blaze. 

"Safety is a core value at all our operations and facilities. We learn from all incidents and use these learnings to reinforce our commitment to continued safety improvement," ExxonMobil said. "While we manage our business with the goal of preventing incidents, we are prepared for emergencies should they occur and can respond quickly and effectively."