Explosion at Shell Moerdijk caused by excess pressure: report

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The explosion last June at Shell’s manufacturing plant in Moerdijk that left two people injured, was caused by excess pressure in a reactor, an internal investigation has shown.

The explosion occurred on June 3, in one of the plants where Shell produces resources for its synthetics industry. According to the report on the investigation, the catalyst that helps to propel chemical processes had just been cleaned and prepped for production, when tragedy struck.

The catalyst is usually cleaned with warm, liquid methylbenzene. According to Shell, while the cleaning process was taking place, the temperature and pressure in the reactor rose quickly, which caused the explosion. Shell said there were also some other small changes in the catalyst that contributed.

The company said the start procedures had been followed correctly and the installation had always been properly maintained.

Shell intends to rebuild the plant and resume production.

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