Posted in: Infrastructure,
by Patrick DeHaan on Apr 28, 2013 05:00 AM
Chevron's Richmond, California refinery suffered a massive fire last August, an event that sent nearly 15,000 residents looking for medical assistance and nearly killing 19 workers. Luckily, there were no fatalities. How can things go so wrong, and to understand the issue more at depth, we're including a video put together on the subject. View it below.
For those living on the West Coast, after the fire, not only were there impacts locally, but the impact was felt in the entire region as gasoline prices shot up over 20 cents per gallon just five days after the fire. Prices shot up on worries that without Chevron's refinery gasoline supply would grow tight.
In the days since the fire, Chevron has commenced repairs. Over the next few days and weeks, Chevron will eventually be restarting the plant after repairs were made.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health lifted the order prohibiting use at Chevron’s Crude Unit 4 earlier this month, according to Cal/OSHA spokesman Peter Melton.
A technical report issued by Cal/OSHA and the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board in February found that the fire was caused by corrosion in an 8-inch steel pipe.
Chevron had known about corrosion in the pipe since 2002, but did not act to replace or repair it before the fire, according to the report.
Cal/OSHA fined Chevron $963,200 in January, the agency’s largest fine and the maximum legally allowed, for 25 alleged worker safety violations that occurred before, during and after the pipeline rupture.
The good news is that the plant has been restored and production will soon resume. With the additional capacity of this plant, it may help ease gasoline prices slightly in the region and rebuild tight gasoline supply. And hopefully Chevron has learned a few valuable lessons.