Work at Refinery Resumes after Blast

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 @ 11:10 AM gHale

An oil refinery employee remained in critical condition at an Oklahoma City hospital as work started back up at the facility where an explosion early last weekend left him injured and another worker dead.

Friday’s blast at a boiler inside the refinery south of Oklahoma City injured Russell Mann of Davis and killed Billy Smith, 34, of Pauls Valley, said Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes.

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Jack Lipinski, chief executive of CVR Energy Inc., which owns the refinery in Wynnewood, OK, said Sunday the Sugar Land, Texas, company is working with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state agencies that are trying to determine what caused the explosion.

“I would like to express my deepest sympathy for the employees and families affected by this tragedy,” Jack Lipinski said. “We are conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and cooperating fully with OSHA and the Oklahoma Department of Labor.”

Rhodes said OSHA investigators arrived at the site on Saturday.

Damage at the refinery remained limited to the boiler, and no other areas of the facility suffered any problems, the company said. Rhodes said the explosion occurred after the plant shut down earlier in the week for planned maintenance, a 40-day turnaround.

“There is no crude oil refining going on right now,” he said.

The turnaround is for maintenance and upkeep of operating units and resumed Saturday, the company said.

The company also had a team of firefighters on site that had the situation under control when deputies arrived, Rhodes said. “I do know there was no fire; it was more of a blast of the gasses and the pressures that built up within that (boiler),” the sheriff said.

CVR’s website says the company acquired the refinery when it purchased Gary-Williams Energy Corporation in 2011. The refinery has a daily capacity of 70,000 barrels of crude and produces gasoline, diesel fuel, military jet fuel, solvents and asphalt.

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