Bad Equipment Caused BP Refinery Blaze

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 @ 01:02 PM gHale

The manager of BP’s Cherry Point refinery in Blaine, WA, said the cause of a fire in early February was most likely from equipment failure.

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

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Right now the company is focusing on how the equipment failed and how to prevent it from happening in the future, said Stacey McDaniel, the plant manager.

Initially, investigators said a leaky flange connection may have been the cause of the blaze.

The facility remains mostly shut down while everyone focuses on the investigation, McDaniel said.

The refinery can process 230,000 barrels of crude oil a day. It produces 20 percent of Washington’s gasoline and the majority of aviation fuel for the Vancouver, British Columbia, Sea-Tac and Portland airports.

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