US Tesoro disagrees with refinery explosion assessment

06 April 2011 02:12  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Tesoro disagrees with an assessment by the chairman of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) that the US refiner failed to adequately maintain equipment at its Washington state facility before last year’s deadly explosion, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

The company responded to the release of a video safety message by CSB chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso marking the one-year anniversary of the explosion at Tesoro’s Anacortes refinery that killed seven workers. Moure-Eraso said a CSB investigation indicated that the company did not adequately maintain a 40-year-old heat exchanger, which was being brought online at the time of the explosion. The heat exchanger spewed hydrogen and naphtha, which ignited and exploded, the CSB said.

Tesoro spokesman Mike Marcy said the company disagrees with the assertion that the heat exchanger was not adequately maintained.

“The heat exchanger in question was maintained in accordance with regulations and industry standards,” Marcy said. “As we have from the onset, we continue to cooperate with the CSB and look forward to clarifying the facts as the Board completes its investigation and prepares its final report.”

Marcy said the company agreed with the CSB’s finding that “high temperature hydrogen attack” - micro-cracks in the equipment caused by high temperature hydrogen - led to the explosion.

By: Brian Ford
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