Court Fines Total, Others for Oil Depot Blast
July 19, 2010
A UK court has fined oil company Total and four other firms a total of 9 million pounds ($13.84 million) over an explosion at the Buncefield oil depot, reports Reuters. Total was ordered to pay 6.2 million pounds in fines and costs for the involvement of Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd (HOSL), its joint venture with Chevron, the Press Association said. HOSL was separately fined 2.45 million pounds over the December 2005 blast. British Pipeline Agency Ltd, a joint venture between BP and Shell, has to pay 780,000 pounds. The explosion occurred in December 2005 when 250,000 liters of petrol spilled from a storage tank and ignited. Safety systems and alarms at the plant failed to operate. The UK Environment Agency estimated direct costs from the incident at 1 billion pounds, making it one of the UK''s costliest industrial disasters. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said Total UK did not follow its own procedures for running the plant and failed to fix faults on safety equipment.