Located on the Texas Gulf Coast in Houston, the refinery known as “Houston Refining” occupies 700 acres. Given that Houston Refining is one of the largest refineries in the United States designed to process heavy sulfur crude oil, there are a variety of risks at the plant that can prove to be particularly dangerous. If an accident occurs at the refinery plant, a refinery worker or the loved ones of a refinery worker who died in the accident should consider retaining the services of a skilled attorney.

History of Houston Refining

The Houston refinery was initially constructed in 1918 by Sinclair Oil. As the refinery grew in size, the Houston refinery became one of the very first full-conversion refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. In 1969, Sinclair Oil was acquired by Atlantic Richfield, which is also known as ARCO. An expansion by ARCO in the 1970’s combined chemical plant elements with the refinery. Currently, the refinery produces 270,200 barrels per day. In the 1990’s, CITGO entered into a joint venture agreement with Lyondell Chemical to jointly form the Lyondell-CITGO Refinery Company. A little over a decade later, Houston Refining became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lyondell. LyondellBasell Industries N.V. is a public multinational chemical company with American and European roots that is incorporated in the United States and has a headquarters in Houston. Currently, Houston Refining has the capacity to transform heavy sulfur crude oil into fuels like reformulated gasoline, low-sulfur diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, lubricants, petroleum coke, and aromatics.

Injuries and Fatalities Caused by Fires at Houston Refining

When fires occur at refineries in the Houston area, the results can be particularly catastrophic in nature. In April of 2016, a large fire occurred at Houston Refining. The fire began in a coker unit. Fortunately, there were no known injuries due to the accident. The exact cause of the fire remains uncertain. The particularly hazardous nature of a heavy fuel and cleaning fluid are believed to be responsible for the heavy flames and black smoke that were captured on video footage of the fire. Due to the serious nature of the fire, a special warning was put into effect.

Houston Refining Chemical Leaks

Because there are several types of dangerous chemicals used during the refining process, when chemical leaks occur the results can be particular catastrophic. In August of 2016, workers at Houston Refining were forced to evacuate due to a chemical release. The incident in question appears to have been caused when a power failure at Houston Refining resulted in the shutdown of a unit which briefly released sulfur dioxide. The potential risk of hazards presented by a chemical release is compounded by the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency has cited Houston for noncompliance twelve times in the last three years due to Houston Refining’s disposal of hazardous waste.

How A Talented Houston Accident Attorney Can Be of Assistance

Individuals who are injured in a Houston refining plant accident can suddenly find themselves facing a variety of expenses including medical bills, lost wages, and emotional damages. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today.