Oklahoma City-based LSB chemical plant sues supplier over explosion

Arkansas blast cost company more than $100 million.
by Brianna Bailey Published: May 15, 2014
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The Arkansas chemical operation of Oklahoma City-based LSB Industries Inc. claims in a federal lawsuit that the French gas supplier Air Liquide is responsible for more than $100 million in damage and losses after a 2012 explosion at the plant.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, accuses Air Liquide of negligence for failing to properly maintain oxygen pipes at a nitric acid plant LSB owns in El Dorado, Ark. A large explosion destroyed the chemical plant in May 2012. No one was injured in the blast. LSB has since said it plans to rebuild the nitric acid plant.

The French multinational company Air Liquide is the world’s largest supplier of industrial gasses.

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.

$100 million lost

Damage from the explosion and the ensuing loss of business cost the company $100 million, the lawsuit claims.

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

LSB Industries received a $113 million settlement in 2013 from its insurance company after the explosion.

Air Liquide does not comment on pending litigation as a matter of practice, company spokeswoman Heather Browne said.

“Safety is Air Liquide’s core value and that value is the foundation of Air Liquide’s business,” Browne said in a statement.

by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Univerisity of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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Safety is Air Liquide’s core value and that value is the foundation of Air Liquide’s business.”

Heather Browne,
Air Liquide spokeswoman

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