Alert after BP oil refinery in US loses power

Apr 26, 2011
Greenpeace activists use BP's logo as part of a giant protest display in Vienna last year. Residents of a US Gulf town have been told to stay indoors and turn off their air conditioners after power failures at a nearby BP refinery and Dow Chemical plant, officials have said.

Residents of a US Gulf town have been told to stay indoors and turn off their air conditioners after power failures at a nearby BP refinery and Dow Chemical plant, officials have said.

Texas City Emergency Management director Bruce Clawson, raising fears of a potential blast, said the order was issued to residents after BP lost power to the entire facility at 11:00pm (0400 GMT Tuesday).

"They are taking all the hydrocarbons and flaring them so they don't blow up," he told AFP. "Not everything is burning up. Hydrocarbons are being released into the air."

He said he was not aware of anyone having been injured in the incident and expected the situation to soon be brought under control, adding that the Dow Chemical plant had been shut down safely.

At least nine tall flares could be seen from a nearby highway, according to the Galveston County Daily News, which first broke the story.

BP America said in a statement that it had "immediately" notified the city following the power failure and that no one had been injured in the incident. It added that it had initiated its own "."

The same facility was the site of a deadly explosion and fire in 2005 that killed 15 workers and wounded another 170.

Last August BP agreed to pay a record 50.6-million-dollar fine for safety violations at the refinery, on top of billions in fines and compensation payouts related to that year's massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

BP had already paid an estimated one to two billion in civil penalties for people hurt or killed in the refinery blast and a record 50 million dollar criminal fine for .

The Texas City facility is BP's largest refinery and has a feed capacity of approximately 460,000 barrels of crude oil per day. It processes a wide range of , including gasoline, heavy fuel oil and sulfuric acid.

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User comments : 5

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2 / 5 (4) Apr 26, 2011
Thanks for the story.

This is a reminder of inherent dangers in fossil fuels.

The news from Japan reminds us of the dangers of nuclear fuels.

ALL CONCENTRATED sources of energy have inherent dangers.

As noted in another news story, there is also great danger that politicians will use government funds to finance causes and crusades that dramatically expand government power:


The threat of a totalitarian government may be the greatest danger facing us today.

Read the synopsis of George Orwells book, 1984.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
1 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2011
A dow chemical plant and a BP plant are struck with a power outage...which one isn't able to come to a safe stop?

I'm almost afraid to read an article about bp these days. it's like facepalm after facepalm.

And you, mister Oliver Manuel. What you said has virtually no relation to this article, except ALL CONCENTRATED sources of energy have inherent dangers."

Brilliant thinking. Staring at the sun isn't good for you either.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2011
Wow BP is a really negligent company. Speaking of concentrated energy, the sun qualifies as one and harnessing its power is not inherently dangerous. It's unfortunate that our current tech in this arena is rather flabby but through decentralized generation (get off your ass and make your own power) we can avoid such nasty little mishaps as these. Remember it doesn't all need to be firm power.
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2011
Speaking of concentrated energy, the sun qualifies as one and harnessing its power is not inherently dangerous.

We are not yet able to predict the occurrence of solar eruptions.
5 / 5 (2) Apr 27, 2011
And unconcentrated energy is next to useless for a growing planet.

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