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Fire and explosion at BP refinery kills two workers

27 September 2022

A fire and explosion at a BP refinery in the US killed two workers on September 20. The incident, which happened at the Toledo Refinery in Oregon, Ohio, also resulted in a release of sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide, as well as significant property damage.

Image: BP
Image: BP

BP said that two of its staff at the refinery died after sustaining injuries in the explosion at the 150,800 barrel-per-day refinery. The energy major did not say how much damage had been caused and did not release the names of the two individuals who died.

The cause of the fire and resulting explosion is unknown, however Reuters news agency reports that leaking fumes from a crude unit may have caused an ignition in another unit at the facility. Reuters adds that the Toledo refinery had finished a maintenance turnaround in recent weeks and had now resumed operations.

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said it had deployed a team to investigate the accidental release event that occurred at approximately 21:00 local time. CSB Interim Executive Steve Owens said: “The CSB team will be documenting the site, gathering evidence and initiating information requests as we begin our investigation into this tragic incident.”

Video footage taken at the scene and posted on social media shows a significant fire and black smoke rising from the facility. The facility has been shut down until further notice.

In August 2022, BP announced that it had reached an agreement to sell its 50% interest in the Toledo Refinery to Cenovus, its joint venture partner in the facility. Under the terms of the deal, Cenovus will pay $300 million for BP’s stake in the refinery, plus the value of inventory, and take over operations when the transaction closes, which is expected to occur later in 2022.

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