California issues draft proposals to improve refinery safety

California’s interagency refinery safety working group, which the state formed following a fire at Chevron USA’s Richmond plant in August 2012, released a draft report outlining steps and recommendations to improve public and worker safety at and near refineries in the state.

Proposed actions in the July 11 document include creating an interagency refinery taskforce within California’s Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate agencies’ activities, strengthening regulations and developing new ones to address underlying causes of safety problems, increasing public output in developing emergency response plans, and improving alerts and public access to information during emergencies.

“Getting the Interagency Refinery Task Force up and running will be our top priority,” Cal/EPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez said. “We want to put the recommendations of the report into effect as soon as possible to protect worker and public safety at the state’s refineries.”

The working group met over 8 months to examine ways to improve public and worker safety through enhanced oversight of refineries, and to strengthen emergency preparedness in anticipation of any future incident, officials said. It met with a wide variety of industry, labor, community and environmental groups, academic institutions, local emergency response units, and other stakeholders.

The report assesses the state of refinery safety in California with input from those stakeholders, a Rand Corp. study, and findings by the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), the US Chemical Safety Board, and Chevron’s own internal investigation.

Rafael Moure-Eraso, US Chemical Safety Board chairman, applauded the report’s release. “[It] effectively outlines the process of adopting several of [CSB’s] recommendations from our interim investigation report on the Aug. 6, 2012, explosion and fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond,” he said on July 12. “These recommendations include requiring refineries to implement inherently safer systems and conduct damage mechanism hazard reviews.”

Further alignment

The report’s proposal to create a state interagency taskforce aimed at improving coordination of oversight and enforcement activities by regulatory agencies, and facilitating information sharing is aligned with a CSB recommendation contained in its interim report to the California State Legislature, he added.

“I would like to further commend plans to hire additional safety inspectors to triple inspection capacity following the Aug. 6, 2012, incident at the Chevron refinery and ensure that all recommendations are fully implemented,” Moure-Eraso said. “The proposed activities on the state’s behalf are a very positive step towards preventing future incidents there, and help to establish California as a national leader in refinery and process safety.”

California officials said the office of Gov. Jerry Brown (D) already has directed relevant agencies to begin the process of changing regulations to act on the proposed recommendations. They said those actions include hiring another 15 Cal/OSHA inspectors and ancillary personnel, which is funded in the state budget, to review refineries and chemical plants under the process safety management program.

The California Air Resources Board, in collaboration with the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, will release a report developed in parallel with the interagency working group report focused on toxic air contaminant monitoring to improve knowledge and information sharing for air data in the event of an incident, officials indicated.

Future coordination and implementation of the recommendations will ultimately be led by the interagency refinery task force within Cal/EPA, they said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Shell cuts $15 billion in spending for 2015-17

01/30/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has curtailed more than $15 billion in potential spending over the next 3 years, but is not “not overreacting to current low ...

Victoria extends drilling, fracing ban

01/30/2015 The new Victorian Labor government of premier Daniel Andrews has extended the coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and hydraulic fracturing ban in the s...

Chevron’s $35 billion capital budget down 13% from last year

01/30/2015 Chevron Corp. will allocate $35 billion in its capital and exploratory investment program for 2015, including $4 billion of planned expenditures by...

US Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL pipeline project

01/30/2015 The US Senate has passed a bill approving construction of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline by a 62-36 vote after 3 weeks of debate. Nine...

Oxy cuts capital budget by a third

01/30/2015 In the midst of falling oil prices, Occidental Petroleum Corp., Houston, expects to reduce its total capital spending for 2015 to $5.8 billion from...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX natural gas prices drop after storage report

01/30/2015 US natural gas closed at its lowest price in more than 2 years on the New York market Jan. 29 following the government’s weekly gas storage report,...

Pennsylvania governor reinstates state forest drilling moratorium

01/29/2015 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed an executive order fully reinstating a 2010 moratorium on new oil and gas leases in state forests and parks. ...

PwC: Low oil prices might drive surge in restructuring in 2015

01/29/2015 Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the oil and gas industry hit 10-year highs in terms of deal value and volume in 2014, according to a report f...

DOE could meet 45-day LNG export decision deadline, Senate panel told

01/29/2015 The US Department of Energy would have no trouble meeting a 45-day deadline to reach a national interest determination for proposed LNG export faci...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts

On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected