Refinery Fire Cause: Pipe Failure

Thursday, June 21, 2012 @ 05:06 PM gHale


Pipe failure in the crude processing unit is the cause of the Feb. 17 fire at BP’s Cherry Point oil refinery in Washington state near Ferndale, officials said.

The company replaced the pipe and is now considering a redesign, said Refinery Manager Stacey McDaniel. The company is also monitoring the pipe.

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BP added a maintenance “turnaround” to the repairs, which at one time required more than 3,200 additional workers at the site. The refinery returned to operation at the end of May.

A failure in the “crude vacuum unit” led to the release of some heavier crude, which ignited when it came in contact with air.

Its outage was one factor for higher West Coast gasoline prices.

Cherry Point is the third-largest refinery on the West Coast. The refinery can process 230,000 barrels of crude oil a day. It produces 20 percent of Washington’s gasoline and the majority of jet fuel for Sea-Tac, Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia, airports.



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