Reuters: Gas causing strong odor over Paris and large areas in western France — Migraines, irritations, nausea near plant — Some in Paris report “very strong odor of diesel fuel”

Published: January 22nd, 2013 at 12:34 am ET


Agence France-Presse, 11:32p:

A gas leak at a chemical plant in the Normandy city of Rouen could be smelt as far away as the French capital, over 100 kilometres (more than 60 miles) away, Tuesday but is “not toxic,” officials said.

A chemical substance at the Lubrizol company in Rouen became unstable causing gas odors that are similar to those of town gas, a statement issued by the Seine-Maritime prefecture said, adding: “The gas has an unpleasant smell but is not toxic.” […]

In the Seine-Maritime region around Rouen emergency services were bombarded with calls from alarmed citizens. […]

Reuters, 10:02p:

A gas leak at a factory in France left a strong odor over Paris and large areas in the western part of the country early on Tuesday, police said. […]

A police official told Reuters that [it’s] a leak of mercaptan gas […]

A news website, Tendanceouest, said the leak was from a Lubrizol plant that makes oil additives. The website said the sulfur smell from the gas was causing migraines, irritations and nausea around Rouen.

Several Paris residents reported a very strong odor of diesel fuel.

Published: January 22nd, 2013 at 12:34 am ET


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18 comments to Reuters: Gas causing strong odor over Paris and large areas in western France — Migraines, irritations, nausea near plant — Some in Paris report “very strong odor of diesel fuel”

  • VyseLegendaire VyseLegendaire

    Everything is fine. Go back to bed. The authorities will take care of it.

  • markww markww

    People LIE any time they can get away with it. AS SOON AS ONE PERSON has problems as stated above the gas is dangerous.

    Chemical plants around the world are breaking down from AGE, mismanagement and safety violations to keep production levels above 100 per cent. Look at the explosions deaths from refiners who have not done safety checks in years,equipment break downs unsafe shout downs, and others contribute to DISASTER. Safety inspectors and engineers under the threat of being fired and mocked if they do what is right by upper management. BP IS THE WORST IN THE WORLD. Not only as to the Gulf but their refinery in Texas City Texas. After a explosions where over 15 people were killed over 80 hurt and injured SAFETY VIOLATIONS and threats from management topped the list. KHOU TV-11 had the basic report online and BP was totally at fault as to Operating safely. people were threatened with their lives and also their jobs if they had too by threats. This happens all over the Country in all kinds of operations from small shops to large companies. Employers operating and violating basic safety from shoes to eye protection for starters.


    • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication


      Thank you Mark. I know this to be true as it relates to safety. Tell the truth and you'll soon be otherwise engaged.

  • irhologram

    So these gases are generally ADDED to city gas to make it detectable through odor…but THIS gas became UNSTABLE by itself? Just a quick look at the addition procedure seems to indicate that these additives are monitored but not as closely as I would have thought? Common sulfur compounds that may be found in the gas supply are Tetrahydrothiophene (THT), Tertiary Butyl Mercaptan (TBM), Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS), and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S. So I'm confused…this Mercaptan was being processed for use later in city gas, but it became unstable because it contained more harmful ingredients in the mix?

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      Sulphur compounds are removed from raw natural gas as soon as possible. Manufactured odorants (only some are Mercaptans) are added back in somewhere downstream.

      Hydrogen Sulfide could be an odorant, but its never added back in – it's corrosive to the pipes. That's why they take them out as close to the well as possible. The raw gas may already have some mix of mercaptans (sometimes quite a bit), but they're separated out at the gas plants.

      They don't add all of the ones you listed back in. A pipeline or distribution company buys and uses specific ones for their natural gas. It varies by company – they don't all use the same type. Some might be better in lower temperatures than others, for instance.

      I'm not sure where you saw the 'unstable' reference. Gas companies would want stable ones in their system. Mercaptans released into the atmosphere will decompose in a few days to simpler compounds, but they would be so dispersed by then that you wouldn't be able to smell them. The liquid forms hang around longer in soil and water.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    HuffPo now has a story on the mercaptan spill with a bit more detail. Interesting (to me) was: "London police also said they'd received reports of a gas smell from several parts of the city", because it appears to speak to the size of the spill.

  • DannieJ DannieJ

    This from the same people who told the french to go shopping when there was a radioactive cloud over their heads in 1986. As a result France is sporting their own collection of 'Chernobyl necklaces'.

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    And if you follow the markets:

    "It turns out that there is a factory in Rouen, two hundred KM downstream of Paris, which has a mercaptan plant, toxic sulfur compound, that had a major gas leak which polluted the whole Seine valley!

    The plant has been shut down by government decree last night. Further delving into who the plant belongs to shows that it is now owned, like two other sister plants in France, by Berkshire HAthaway; who bought parent called LUBRISOL, US based corporate, for 9 billion USD in 2011.

    Warren Buffet was accused of insider trading and lost an eminent associate as a result of that public stink. But he retained ownership of Lubrizol, a world wide leader in industrial chemical plants."

    For more info:

    Not assigning blame, it's just good to know who the players are.

    • Atlantis

      would have picked one with at least the chemical formulae not wrong.
      i guess tipying CH4S (instead of CH3S) is a too big task for the one who did it -_-

  • robertsgt40

    Maybe an occassional bath would clear the air 🙂

  • Thad

    This is the event that caused the US law requiring an odorante to be added. – later adopted by the rest of the world -295 dead

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