BP Texas City to pay record clean air penalty

BP’s Texas City refinery will pay a record $15 million civil fine for violating the Clean Air Act in three different incidents in 2004 and 2005.

The fine is not related to either the deadly March 2005 accident that killed 15 and injured 170 more. Nor is it tied to a lengthy, unauthorized release that occured earlier this year.

Rather it deals with three other events that lead to the release of chemicals and orders of shelter-in-place in Texas City:

  • In August 2005, a stream of highly pressurized liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons leaked from a corroded valve in the refinery’s Cat Feed Hydrotreater Unit. Since 1983, BP repeatedly increased the velocity of fluid flowing through the valve without adequately evaluating the effects of the increased flow on the unit’s maintenance needs.
  • In July 2005, a carbon-steel piping elbow in the refinery’s Resid Hydrotreater Unit ruptured and caused a major fire. The carbon-steel piping elbow had been incorrectly installed by a maintenance contractor in a location that required a stronger metal in order to withstand the existing operating temperatures and pressures.
  • In March 2004, a corroded 20-inch diameter pipe at the refinery’s Ultraformer No. 4 process unit ruptured and caused a major fire that burned for several hours. Corrosion, which had gone undetected, reduced the pipe-wall thickness to the point where it ruptured at normal operating temperatures and pressures.

The deal was reached with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s both the largest penalty ever assessed for civil violations of the Clean Air Act’s chemical accident prevention regulations, also known as the risk management program regulations, and the largest civil penalty recovered for Clean Air Act violations at an individual facility.

The settlement brings total federal criminal, civil and administrative fines from the Texas City refinery to about $137 million. In addition, BP Products has performed approximately $1.4 billion in corrective actions and the company will spend an estimated additional $500 million to improve safety at the refinery as required by settlements with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

9 Comments

  1. RunningBear

    Where does the money go? What department is responsible for stewarding the funds and what benefit is the public due from these fines. Is any of the money paying the usual exorbitant lawyer fees? God Bless Texas

    #1
  2. Simply put, this group is bad news and has caused severe damage to alot of concientious the people in the oil gas industry in addition to the deaths and destruction to date. You have to be familiar with the concept that “the sun never sets on the empire ” to realize that is the way alot of Brits still think and it certainly seems to translate into how BP does businese over here. The safety record is an embarrassment. I personally am still incensed they poured millions of gallons of dispersants that are banned in their own country into our backyard. Then again, we let em. Then again, we defend em.
    Was a time no self respecting American would dance a jig for any foreign concern that injures our citizens and craps in our backyard. Now it seems we too can be bought and paid ,just like any third world puppet.

    #2
  3. DavidR

    So what does the agency do with this money? Does this go back to the taxpayers?

    #3
  4. LPN1234

    Only one thing wrong with this article. BP bought out Amoco in 1998, so how have they been pushing fluid through a valve since 1983? A lot of the problems there are not because of BP, but because of lack of maintenance for over 20 years when the facility was owned by Amoco. It takes a lot of time and money to overcome that.

    #4
  5. ntangle

    If the 3 incidents on which the record fine is based aren’t related to the accident, why is it that the only picture we’re shown is a picture of the March/2005 accident?

    #5
  6. Tom Fowler

    Roger:
    Honestly I’ve had technical problems accessing any other Texas City photos in our system when I wrote this and haven’t had time to see if the prob. is fixed because of deadline.

    #6
  7. stop101

    Hey!!! When you get them down, STOMP on them. That will sure as h*ll make them listen.

    #7
  8. stop101

    RunningBear
    September 30, 2010, 2:59 PM
    Where does the money go? What department is responsible for stewarding the funds and what benefit is the public due from these fines. Is any of the money paying the usual exorbitant lawyer fees? God Bless Texas
    ===========================
    Hey, RunningBear, I thought you knew – it all goes directly to Perry. That’s why his hidden trust is doing so well!

    #8
  9. Esther Ingram

    BP’s new incoming CEO Bob Dudley has acquired all of the BPCares domains.
    Mr Dudley asked the board in one of his first meetings months ago for permission to acquire the BPCares domains to launch a new BPCares website to target the struggling US retail market.
    In his report to the board earlier this week, Mr Dudley gave two thumbs up when asked if he had acquired the BPCares domains. The domains that BP now owns are:
    BPCares.com
    BPCares.net
    BPCares.org
    BPCares.info
    BPCares.us
    BPCares.biz

    BP is expected to have the new BPCares website operating soon.

    #9