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Investigators think series of explosions shook refinery

Omega Operative
04/28/2005 10:17 PM
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Investigators think series of explosions shook refinery
I seem to remember some obscure Islamic group taking credit for this event at the time? Thoughts?

Investigators think series of explosions shook refinery
Associated Press

Federal investigators said today that several explosions rocked a Texas City refinery last month in an eruption that killed 15 people, injured more than 100 and filled the sky with black smoke.

"We believe that there were a number of distinct explosions in rapid succession, possibly as many as five," said U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board member John Bresland.

Investigators still aren´t sure what ignited the explosions at the BP refinery March 23.

Lead investigator Don Holmstrom said there may have been multiple ignition sources, and investigators are conducting blast modeling to figure out the size and possible causes.

The BP refinery processes 433,000 barrels of crude oil a day and 3 percent of the nation´s gasoline. The blast was the plant´s third accident in a year, following a March 2004 explosion that caused an evacuation and a September accident in which two workers were fatally burned by superheated water.

Bresland said today that there was at least one blast March 23 in the isomerization unit, which boosts the octane level of gasoline, and a number of other explosions around the unit. One explosion may have occurred under a double-wide trailer where several contractors were meeting. Bresland said the two trailers closest to the unit were destroyed.

He said officials were examining whether the trailers had skirting around their bases that would have prevented flammable vapors from traveling underneath. Investigators were looking into whether such skirting was required in this situation.

Witnesses at the plant told investigators they saw a "geyser-like" release of liquid and vapor from a 100-foot-tall vent just before the deadly blast.

About 30 damaged vehicles were found close to the vent that is believed to have released the vapor, investigators said. Any of those vehicles could have been an ignition source, they said.

Investigators believe the release was caused when a raffinate splitter — which separates chemicals for gasoline production — developed excess internal pressure, causing one or more pressure relief devices to open. Investigators do not know why there was excess pressure.

Bresland said the raffinate splitter column became flooded, which is "a highly abnormal condition." He said a sufficient amount of liquid and vapor was discharged to overwhelm one of the unit´s systems, causing the release and subsequent explosions. He said investigators are working to determine what caused the flooding and overpressurization.

Shortly after the release, witnesses saw a cloud of hydrocarbon material drift toward to the ground. Then it ignited, causing the explosion.

The CSB team is working with Honeywell International, which manufactured the computer control system in the isomerization unit control room, to recover and decipher records of the operating conditions in the unit before the blast.

CSB investigators have spoken with more than 120 workers and requested 10,000 documents. They say the investigation at the site will last for weeks.
12/08/2005 10:07 AM
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Re: Investigators think series of explosions shook refinery
Group claiming Qatar bombing says it carried out Texas BP blast
Khaleej ^ | 3/25/05

Posted on 03/25/2005 7:56:27 AM PST by TexKat

DUBAI - A shadowy Islamist group which claimed it carried out last week’s suicide bombing in Qatar said in an internet statement it was responsible for an oil refinery explosion in Texas that left 15 people dead.

[link to www.freerepublic.com]

hrmm.. wouldn´t surprise me that US officials would want to cover something like that up. You can´t claim everything is running smooth and making progress when you have "Evil Doers.." blowing up refineries.
Omega Operative
12/08/2005 10:07 AM
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Re: Investigators think series of explosions shook refinery
Yeah and if I remember correctly this event caused a short term spike in gas prices.

Think TPTB would tell us it was a terrorist act in this economical environment? Hell no-could very well crash the whole system. damned


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