Chemical Safety Board preliminary report links refinery blasts in Wisconsin and California to cracking unit failures

A preliminary report released this week by the Chemical Safety Board blames recent refinery explosions in Superior, WI and Torrance, CA on the inadvertent mixing of hydrocarbons with air inside the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit that found an ignition source, resulting in an explosion.   On April 26, 2018, an explosion (Figure 1) and subsequent fire (Figure 2) occurred at the Superior Refinery Company LLC refinery in Superior, Wisconsin (“Husky Superior Refinery”).1 The incident occurred in the refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU). As a result of the explosion, thirty-six people sought medical attention, including eleven refinery and contract workers who suffered OSHA recordable injuries. In addition, a portion of Superior,2 Wisconsin was evacuated. Evidence collected to date suggests similarities with a previous investigation of the February 18, 2015 explosion at a refinery in Torrance, CA.   On Wednesday, February 18, 2015, an explosion occurred in the ExxonMobil Torrance, California refinery’s...
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