Processing Magazine

LSB Industries takes gas supplier to court over alleged negligence

May 16, 2014
LSB El Dorado facility

Oklahoma City-based LSB Industries Inc. has started legal action against French multinational gas company Air Liquide, accusing the supplier of negligence that led to an explosion at LSB's Arkansas chemical plant, which resulted in more than $100 million of damage and subsequent business losses.

The legal documents, filed in the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, claim that the gas supplier had failed to maintain oxygen pipes at a LSB's nitric acid facility in El Dorado, which eventually led to an explosion at the plant in May 2012. LSB's investigation of the blast revealed that it was caused by contaminants within the piping, installed and maintained by the French company. No one was injured in the explosion but the plant was completely destroyed.

The contaminants should have been removed by the installing company and failure to do so led to a "violent oxygen fire" at the El Dorado plant, the court documents said. That is why LSB believes Air Liquide should be held accountable for the explosion and is seeking compensation that would cover the damage, costs and interest, The Oklahoman reported.

Air Liquide does not comment on pending litigation as a rule, according to the company's spokeswoman Heather Brown, but she said in a statement that Air Liquide prioritized safety and placed it at the heart of its business.