Journalism in the Public Interest

BP’s Selling Its Troubled Refineries in Texas City and Carson

BP put out a “for sale” sign today when it announced intentions to seek buyers for its Texas City refinery and its Carson refinery near Los Angeles.

Selling the two refineries would cut BP’s refining capacity in the U.S. in half and enable the oil giant to invest more in its other refineries around the country. The company said in a press release today that it “expects significant market interest in the assets.”

Whether that ends up being true remains to be seen. As we’ve reported, both plants have had troubled pasts and run-ins with safety and environmental regulators.

The Texas City plant, in particular, has cost BP. After a 2005 explosion at the refinery that killed 15 workers, the Justice Department deemed it ineligible for federally funded contracts, meaning that oil products refined at BP’s largest refinery cannot be sold to the government.

As we’ve noted, four more workers at the refinery have died in the years since the Texas City blast. The last we checked, it was the nation’s deadliest oil refinery—and that’s saying a lot, given the safety record of U.S. oil refineries as a whole.

BP’s Texas City plant also remains under state and federal investigation for the more than 500,000 pounds of chemicals it released over a period of 40 days just prior to the company’s Gulf disaster.

The other facility BP’s selling, its Carson refinery, may be lesser known, but has also had its share of problems. As we reported in June of last year, when air-quality regulators noticed something seemed suspicious about the refinery’s inspection reports, BP blocked them from conducting their own inspections:

Between 1999 and 2002, BP's Carson Refinery had nearly perfect compliance, reporting no tank problems and making virtually no repairs. The district began to suspect that BP was falsifying its inspection reports and fabricating its compliance with the law.

The management district sent its own inspectors to investigate, but when they tried to enter BP's plant, the company turned them away. According to Joseph Panasiti, a lawyer for the management district, the agency had to get a search warrant to conduct inspections required by state law.

When the regulators did finally get in, they found equipment in a disturbing state of disrepair.

According to a lawsuit the management district later filed against the company, inspectors discovered that some tanker seals had tears that were nearly two feet long. Tank roofs had gaps and pervasive leaks, and there were enough major defects to lead to thousands of violations.

BP said that it hopes to complete the sale of both refineries by the end of 2012, subject to regulatory and other approvals, noting that it will “ensure that fulfillment of the current regulatory obligations associated with Texas City are reflected in any transaction.”

The company still owes $30 million in penalties to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for new violations discovered in a 2009 investigation of the Texas City plant. Litigation over that fine is ongoing, OSHA said in August.

In my opinion, no transaction should be consummated until all unpaid fines are resolved, and all deficiencies are corrected.  Obligations that are incorporated in “transactions” seem to have a way of slipping through the cracks.  Let BP correct the mess they allowed to fester.

BP sold these to SINOPEC yet? 

I figured that is what they’d do…then SINOPEC would drop all safety programs and pump toxins out by the kilotons in mutual agreement with Big Oil…and we wouldn’t say anything ‘cuz we owe the PRC so much plus so many of our righties are getting filthy rich polluting over in mainland China…and then our other refineries would claim that letting SINOPEC poison Americans gave them an unfair competitive advantage so they should be able to poison Americans too…and before long wouldn’t be a rich American living within a thousand miles of all the dead ordinary Americans piled up around our refineries.

Ain’t happened yet, huh?

OSHA does not do the job it should. The way to stop all voliations is that when something goes wrong, shut the plant down. Then no products can be sold from any other plant they own until that plant is repaired. I remember when Texas City blew up in 1947. Take my word for it I know what I am talking about. OSHA is no different than WASHINGTON D.C. they can be bought off.

Funny thing about OSHA, the most ordinary Ca local is nervous about spilling oil on thier driveway, ends up in the storm drains.  We would have to pay the fine.  But BP?  They can foul the earth and then waste tax dollars to force them to pay the fines.  If you have never been to Carson, Ca, don’t go.  The smell alone should have been a clue that they were not complying.  Is the management district refered to the AQMD?  I think they are the Air Quality division of OSHA.  OSHA has been a huge disappoint over the last 30+ years, this is just all in a days work here in Ca.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is a state agency, part of the California Air Resources Board.

You lefties are friggin nuts, everything stated is over dramatized, this is how our liberal legislation makes it’s money to fund all these bureaucratic agencies. You want to drive, people will die processing oil to usable hydrocarbons, it isn’t a candy factory! You’re friggin’ hypocites! This is the real world, it isn’t butterflys and rainbows! Go ahead and chase this great industry out of California and the U.S., your fuel will be made in India and Indonesia with no enviromental or safety regulations, so 100x the toxic pollution emitted to this world! You Libtards blow me away, can’t think beyond what your party tells ya!

Lefties, righties…they’re not terms that are overloaded sufficient to provide you with a working hypothesis.

But most who have experience at deriving intent and/or motivation from third-party communications know to interpret the combining of words (especially derogatory terms) to create compound words that will convey an insult - for example, terms like “libtards” - as suggestive of an underlying pathological condition and/or successful cult programing.

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