Tagged Articles

refinery 14 articles

Worker Succumbs to Severe Burn Injuries After Refinery Blast

A worker who was hospitalized with severe burn injuries from an explosion at an El Dorado, Kansas, oil refinery Monday, Sept. 4, has died. The worker, reported to be a man in his 50s, was injured in a blast at the HollyFrontier refinery, which processes about 135,000 barrels of crude oil per day at its facilities in El Dorado, about 30 miles northeast of Wichita. According to the Associated Press, the worker was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in Wichita with second- and third-degree burn injuries covering 80 percent of his body. He died in the hospital overnight, ... Read More

Valero Reaches Agreement To Reduce Bay-Area Benzene Releases

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it has reached a settlement with the Valero oil refinery in Benicia, Calif., over its illegal dumping of benzene-contaminated wastewater into an unlined retention pond and other shoddy practices that threaten the environment and human health. Under the agreement, Valero will pay a fine of just $157,800. More importantly, the oil company is required to make infrastructural upgrades to prevent toxic releases and shore up its paperwork proving to the government that it’s in compliance with federal regulations. In May 2014, the EPA inspected Valero’s massive Benicia facility, which occupies about 900 acres in ... Read More

Houston Refinery Explosion Burns One Worker, Alarms Neighboring Communities

HOUSTON, Texas — One refinery employee sustained burn injuries when a unit of Pasadena Refining Systems Inc. (PRSI) in Pasasena, Texas, exploded Saturday, March 5, sending clouds of toxic, black smoke over surrounding neighborhoods. Authorities have not determined what caused Pasadena Refining Systems’ Hydrogen Desulphurization Unit to explode shortly before 10:15 a.m., but company officials said that the refinery’s emergency response team worked to put out the flames. Black smoke from the refinery explosion descended on adjoining neighborhoods, prompting the closure of sections of the Houston Ship Channel. The U.S. Coast Guard sent hazmat teams to the area to investigate air ... Read More

BP’s new tar sands refinery spills crude oil into Lake Michigan

CHICAGO — A new unit at BP’s Whiting facilities used to process Canadian tar sands oil into gasoline and other fuels spilled an unknown amount of crude oil into Lake Michigan Monday, just a few miles from an intake at one of Chicago’s municipal water plants. Neither BP officials nor government regulators have been able to determine yet how the spill occurred or how much damage it has caused. Workers at the tar sands refinery, which BP built as the centerpiece of a $4-billion overhaul of the Whiting refinery less than a year ago, discovered an oil slick on the ... Read More

Chevron agrees to pay $2 million for 2012 Bay Area refinery fire

Oil giant Chevron pleaded no contest to six criminal charges and will pay a $2 million fine for its role in an August 2012 refinery fire in Richmond, Calif., that sickened some 15,000 people. The plea bargain has angered local residents and environmentalists alike, who say the fine amounts to a slap on the wrist for a company that pulled in $241 billion in revenue last year and which continues to fight or ignore environmental disasters in parts of the world with weak government oversight. The Richmond refinery fire erupted in the evening of August 6, 2012, after a leak ... Read More

Illinois sues ExxonMobil over prolonged leak of toxic hydrogen sulfide gasses

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil Corporation after an equipment malfunction at the company’s Channahon Township refinery caused a release of hydrogen sulfide into the air that lasted nearly 10 hours. According to the complaint, the release started about 9 p.m. on March 1 and went undiscovered by refinery employees until approximately 6:45 a.m. the next morning. ExxonMobil notified the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Will County emergency officials, and other state and federal agencies of the toxic release. Company officials told state regulators that a pressure relief valve failed at the ... Read More

BP using Lake Michigan as refinery waste dump

BP is emptying dangerous levels of ammonia, mercury, and factory sludge that contains other toxic heavy metals into Lake Michigan, thanks to Indiana politicians and regulators who have practically given the oil giant and its massive Whiting refinery, the seventh-largest in the nation, a carte blanche on waste dumping. According to the Chicago Tribune, BP vowed six years ago to develop “cutting-edge technology that could sharply reduce toxic mercury discharged into Lake Michigan” at its Whiting refinery, about 20 miles southeast of Chicago across the Illinois-Indiana border. BP promised to clean up its act when it faced mounting public outrage, ... Read More

Deadly refinery explosion earns Tesoro 44 citations and record fine

On April 2, 2010, heat exchangers at a Tesoro Petroleum refinery in Anacortes, Washington, exploded, killing two female and five male company employees.  After six months of investigations, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) announced it had issued a $2.39 million fine against Tesoro — the largest fine in the agency’s history. According to L&I, a heat exchanger at the Tesoro refinery ruptured around 12:30 a.m., releasing volatile hydrocarbon vapor, which ignited almost immediately upon its release. L&I officials said the resulting explosion was the worst industrial disaster in the 37 years that the agency has been enforcing the ... Read More

BP readying itself for unprecedented government fines for oil spill

On August 12, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced BP finally agreed to pay a record $50.6-million fine for safety violations that led to the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others. Now, in the wake of its oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, BP faces federal fines that will make the Texas City penalties look like pocket change. According to U.S. law, oil companies must pay penalties of up to $1,100 per barrel of oil accidentally spilled. However, if the oil spill was caused by a company’s gross ... Read More

BP agrees to pay record OSHA fines for Texas City refinery explosions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that BP Products North America Inc. will pay a  record $50.6 million penalty for violations that caused the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery. The blast killed 15 workers and injured 170 others. The agreement resolves failure-to-abate citations OSHA levied for problems found in a follow-up investigation last year. In addition to paying the record fine, BP has agreed to take immediate steps to protect workers currently employed at the Texas City refinery, allocating a minimum of $500 million to that effort. “This agreement achieves our goal of protecting workers at ... Read More