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US chemicals company to sue Air Liquide over 2012 explosion

16 May 2014

Oklahoma City-based LSB Industries has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that French gas supplier Air Liquide is responsible for more than $100 million in damages and losses after an explosion at its plant in El Dorado, Arkansas. The lawsuit accuses Air Liquide of negligence for failing to properly maintain oxygen pipes at the nitric acid plant, which was destroyed in a large explosion in May 2012. 

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No one was injured in the blast, and LSB has since said it plans to rebuild the plant. The French multinational is the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases.

In its lawsuit, LSB’s El Dorado plant claims the explosion was caused by contaminants in piping installed and maintained by Air Liquide at the Arkansas plant. Air Liquide supplied the plant with gaseous oxygen used to make nitric acid.

Contaminants in the pipes maintained by Air Liquide ignited a “violent oxygen fire,” at the El Dorado plant, “resulting in a catastrophic explosion,” the lawsuit claims.

Damage from the explosion and the ensuing loss of business cost the company $100 million, the lawsuit claims.LSB Industries received a $113 million settlement in 2013 from its insurance company after the explosion.

The lawsuit claims Air Liquide should be held liable for El Dorado’s damage, plus costs and interest.

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