East Bay News

Chevron, Air Quality officials discuss refinery repairs

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chevron officials are slated today to address the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's board of directors about the progress of repairs to the crude oil unit at the company's Richmond refinery that was damaged during a major fire in August.

At its 9:45 a.m. meeting in San Francisco, air quality management district officials will discuss their visits to the refinery and will hear from Chevron representatives about reconstruction plans for the crude oil unit that was torched on Aug. 6. Richmond city officials are also expected to attend the meeting.

The fire caused a vapor plume that spread for miles and prompted 15,000 people to go to hospitals to complain about breathing problems.

In a letter dated Nov. 7 to BAAQMD and Richmond officials, Chevron Richmond refinery General Manager Nigel Hearne wrote that the oil company continues to work with federal, state and local investigations into the root cause of the fire.

Hearne wrote that Chevron estimates only about 20 percent of the crude oil unit was damaged in the blaze.

Refinery management is working toward replacing pipeways, tanks, pumps and other structures destroyed in the fire, according to Hearne. Repairs will also be made to a cooling tower and a motor control center damaged in the blaze.

Before it can complete the repairs, Chevron will need to obtain building permits from the city of Richmond. That permitting process, which could begin this month, will also be discussed at today's meeting.

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