Shell Plc and Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, could potentially face fines exceeding $1 million each over a chemical plant fire that occurred in Deer Park, Texas, in May. The lawsuit was filed by the state's attorney general and cites violations related to the fire's impact. The chemical plant fire, which took place near a Pemex-operated crude oil refinery adjacent to the plant, resulted in a cloud of thick black smoke over east Houston.
The lawsuit claims that each violation of environmental laws could carry a fine of up to $25,000 per day for every separate contaminant released. The fire, which affected an olefins unit, burned from May 5 to 7. The lawsuit alleges that water used to combat the fire and cool equipment entered the Houston Ship Channel through a stormwater drainage system, potentially causing additional environmental concerns.
Shell has stated that it is currently investigating the fire and will share its findings once the probe is concluded. According to Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith, repair work on the damaged olefins unit has commenced, and the aim is to have it operational again by the fourth quarter of the year. Approximately 70% of the Deer Park site remains operational despite the incident.