ExxonMobil to pay civil penalty and take remedial measures to resolve Clean Air Act violations stemming from deadly fire at Texas refinery

Beaumont STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise
The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with ExxonMobil Oil Corporation (ExxonMobil) today to resolve federal Clean Air Act claims arising from a 2013 fire at the company’s oil refinery in Beaumont, Texas that killed two employees and injured ten others.  In a complaint filed today with the settlement, the United States alleges that the company violated Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act, which requires measures to prevent accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances that can have serious public health and environmental consequences.  The April 17, 2013, fire at the refinery occurred when workers used a torch to remove bolts from the top, or “head,” of a device called a heat exchanger.  The torch ignited hydrocarbons released from the head.  EPA’s inspection following the incident disclosed violations of Section 112(r) and of the regulations known as the Chemical Accident Prevention provisions.  “The deaths...
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ExxonMobil still off hook for worker's severe injuries at Joliet plant in 2013, state appeals court rules

  CHICAGO - A state appeals panel has said ExxonMobil can't be held accountable for severe injuries suffered by a worker in a mishap at the company's Joliet refinery, affirming a Cook County judge's findings that the oil and gas company had limited or no knowledge of the contract employer's allegedly unsafe procedures on the job site.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE
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Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery helps keep Whatcom County safe

  Whatcom County, WA - Over the years, Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery and their employees have done a lot to help Whatcom County.   To read the rest of this article, CLICK HERE .
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Refinery firefighter tackles any new challenge 'single handed'

  Industrial firefighter Cory Campbell says he wishes he had a good story about how he lost his left hand in the line of duty. The truth is he was missing that appendage long before his 12-year career in the fire service began.  “I was born without it,” Campbell said. “Nobody knows why it happened.” Some might claim that being born missing a hand and part of his forearm halfway to the elbow is an unfair adversity. Campbell is not one of them. “In my opinion it was good luck,” Campbell said. “It’s made me who I am today. I think it’s what gives me a positive outlook.” He was among 130 attendees at the annual Xtreme Industrial Fire and Hazard Training held in June at Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas. Campbell, 43, serves as a fire brigade battalion chief at a refinery in Blaine, WA. The 234,000 barrels-per-day refinery...
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Husky: $27M in damage, $53M in expenses, 2020 restart

Superior, WI - Following an explosion and fire in April, Husky Energy says its Superior refinery is not expected to resume normal operations until 2020.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.   .
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Shell responder grew up surrounded by the refinery industry

    Working in a refinery is a career that can be unique for a young female college graduate. But refineries were an essential part of life where Shell process operator and emergency responder Victoria Reneau grew up. “It’s nice to be involved in something that you’ve been around your whole life but never really understood,” Reneau said. “Now I understand.” Norco, located 24 miles west of New Orleans, takes its name from the original refinery built there more than one hundred years ago, the New Orleans Refining Company The Shell Petroleum Corporation, a forerunner of Shell Oil Company, acquired the Norco Refinery in 1929. The chemical plant was added in 1955. The Shell Norco Manufacturing Complex, is an integrated petrochemicals asset that has the capacity to process 250,000 barrels of crude oil a day among other fuels. In addition, the site’s chemical plant produces ethylene and propylene, aromatic feedstocks, and...
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CSB releases final report into 2016 refinery fire that seriously injured four workers

September 18, 2017, Washington, D.C.  - At a public business meeting in Washington, DC, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released a safety bulletin on the November 22, 2016 fire that severely burned four workers at the ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   The fire occurred during maintenance activities when operators inadvertently removed bolts that secured a piece of pressure-containing equipment to a plug valve. When the operators attempted to open the plug valve, the valve came apart and released flammable hydrocarbons, which formed a vapor cloud that quickly ignited.   Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Our investigation found that these accepted practices were conducted without appropriate safety hazard analysis, needlessly injuring these workers. It is important to remember that good safety practices are good maintenance practices and good business practices.”   A key safety lesson discussed in the bulletin is the “hierarchy of controls.” This is a method of evaluating...
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Shell fire school keeps Brayton training field busy

One fire training simulation at Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas in particular seemed to divide responders attending the Shell Oil Products and Motiva Enterprises corporate fire school held in February at the Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas. That simulation, designated as prop 50, is the structural burn complex fire, also known as the smokehouse. Hay bales are burned in a darkened metal building to simulate heat and reduced visibility. “They either love it or love to hate it,” said Shane Stuntz, emergency response coordinator for Motiva Enterprises in Convent, LA. “It seems like the group we have this time have had a lot of experience as interior firefighters in the past.” ​ ​ More than 150 industrial firefighters protecting Shell Oil Products and Motiva Enterprises oil and chemical production facilities gathered in College Station, TX, for the joint corporate fire training school. The Motiva Convent facility brought 20 students...
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February fire school keeps Brayton busy

One fire training simulation at Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas in particular seemed to divide responders attending the Shell Oil Products and Motiva Enterprises corporate fire school held in February at the Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas. That simulation, designated as prop 50, is the structural burn complex fire, also known as the smokehouse. Hay bales are burned in a darkened metal building to simulate heat and reduced visibility. “They either love it or love to hate it,” said Shane Stuntz, emergency response coordinator for Motiva Enterprises in Convent, LA. “It seems like the group we have this time have had a lot of experience as interior firefighters in the past.” More than 150 industrial firefighters protecting Shell Oil Products and Motiva Enterprises oil and chemical production facilities gathered in College Station, TX, for the joint corporate fire training school. The Motiva Convent facility brought 20 students for the...
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