Located near the border of Gonzales and Wilson Counties in Nixon, the 56 acre Nixon refinery owned by Blue Dolphin Energy Company is one of the smallest active refineries in the state of Texas. The Nixon refinery produces distillates like jet fuel for commerce in nearby markets including the states of Texas and New Mexico. Even though the Nixon refinery is smaller compared to many other refineries in the state of Texas, a number of accidents still occur at location each year.

The History of Blue Dolphin’s Nixon

Blue Dolphin Energy Company is a public corporation headquartered in Houston and founded in 1986. The company primarily operates around the Gulf of Mexico area with particular focus on pipelines and explorations. In 2012,  Blue Dolphin Energy Company purchased a small refinery in Nixon, Texas about 54 miles east of San Antonio. The company currently has 53 employees and produces 15,000 barrels of crude oil each day with a storage capacity of 295,000 barrels. A subdivision of Blue Dolphin, Lazarus Energy Holdings LLC, is cited as the direct owner of the Nixon refinery.

Potential Causes of Injuries and Fatalities at the Nixon Refinery

In 2013, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Lazarus Energy Holdings LLC with eleven safety violations at the Nixon refinery totaling $43,400. These violations include failing to: compile process safety information, compile and implement written procedures for mechanical integrity, and implement a management of change program. Other violations include failing to initiate and maintain record keeping sufficient for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These various citations mean that Blue Dolphin Energy Company lacked proper recorded protocol for employees who are handling particularly dangerous chemicals, which creates the significant risk of accidents related to exposure to toxic exposure occurring. Exposure to the chemicals involved in the crude oil refinery process can result in a variety of injuries including: severe burns, toxic fumes, hearing loss, and chronic pain.

Accidents Due to Failure to Maintain a Refinery

Refineries must be properly maintained in order to prevent accidents from occurring. When Blue Energy Company purchased the Nixon refinery, the facility was particularly run down and rust streaked the refinery’s storage tanks and piping. The Nixon refinery reached about 70 percent operating capacity soon after the plant was purchased, which creates the risk that some elements at the plant may not have been properly upgraded. Due to the extremely hazardous nature of many materials used in the refinery process, any type of deferred maintenance can easily result in an explosion that causes fatalities and severe injuries. There is a significant possibility that the Nixon refinery may lack proper additions or repairs that would replace outdated or rundown technology. In addition to making sure that facilities are up to date, Lazarus Energy Holding must also make sure that the Nixon refinery is a reasonably safe working environment for individuals.

Obtain the Services of a Skilled Accident Attorney

Individuals in Nixon who have been injured at a refinery accident have the right to receive financial compensation which can include lost wages, emotional suffering, and medical bills. The family members of a deceased refinery worker may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a party that is negligent for a refinery accident. If you are interested in initiating a claim against a Texas crude oil refinery, contact our law firm today.