Chevron Fined Record $1 Million for Refinery Fire, CA
Chevron Corp., California's biggest oil company, has been ordered to pay a record-high fine of nearly $1 million for safety violations that involved in a massive fire at a refinery in the San Francisco Bay last summer.
The explosion occurred on August 6th at a facility in Richmond, Calif., causing minor injuries to one of its employees and exposure to dangerous sulfuric acid and nitrogen dioxide fumes to some 200 local residents. Many sought medical help for subsequent respiratory problems.
The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued 25 citations against Chevron, amounting to $963,200—the highest in Cal-OSHA history. Investigators cited “willful violations” in the oil giant's response to the fire caused by an old, leaky pipe in one of its crude units.
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"Our ... investigation showed that Chevron had repeated warnings and recommendations from its own metallurgists and pipe inspectors about the condition of this pipe," Ellen Widess, chief of Cal-OSHA, told the Associated Press. "Chevron was in a unique position to really know the hazards that they deal with from their dynamic technologies and processes, many of which are proprietary. They alone were in position to have addressed these hazards."
"Ensuring worker safety is the employer's responsibility," Christine Baker, director of the state Department of Industrial Relations, told the LA Times. "Refineries must take the steps needed to prevent incidents like the August Chevron fire. Failure to do so can pose great dangers to workers, surrounding communities and the environment."
Chevron responded to the fine in a statement:
"Chevron takes our commitment to safe operations seriously. Although we acknowledge that we failed to live up to our own expectations in this incident, we do not agree with several of the Cal-OSHA findings and its characterization of some of the alleged violations as 'willful.'"
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.