Court sets £6m bill for oil refinery explosion

Valero Energy has been fined £5m with £1m costs, following a lethal explosion at its oil refinery in Pembroke, although previous owner Chevron has agreed to pay it.

In June 2011, five colleagues were emptying a storage tank at the refinery’s amine recovery unit, used to remove hydrogen sulphide from the hydrodesulphurisation process. The routine operation, part of regular maintenance procedures, probably ignited the flammable atmosphere inside the tank, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The work was being conducted by B & A Contracts Ltd, a long-term contractor at the refinery, supported by another contractor, Hertel. At the time, the refinery was owned and operated Chevron, the firm having agreed to sell it to Valero that March.

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