"Chevron's Safety Record Hit By Accidents"

"Within the oil industry, Chevron Corp. has long enjoyed a reputation for safety. But the last two years have put that reputation to the test."

"In June 2011, an explosion ripped through a Chevron refinery in Wales, killing four men. Later that month, a Bakersfield man died after falling into a sinkhole filled with steam in one of the company's Kern County oil fields.

 In November, an oil spill near one of Chevron's deep-sea wells off the coast of Brazil prompted fines and a criminal investigation. In January, a blow-out and fire at an offshore natural-gas platform near Nigeria killed two men and kept burning for 46 days.

And last week, a hydrocarbon leak at the company's Richmond refinery triggered a fire that a dozen workers narrowly escaped. The Aug. 6 fire closed the refinery's crude-oil processing unit, sent 9,000 people to hospitals complaining of breathing difficulties and drove up gasoline prices throughout California.

These were very different incidents, involving very different operations within a truly global company. And yet their proximity raises the question of whether something has gone wrong with Chevron's vaunted safety culture, known inside the company as 'the Chevron Way.'"

David R. Baker reports for the San Francisco Chronicle August 15, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"First Lawsuit Filed for Chevron Fire" (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Chevron Fire Ignited By Idling Rig?" (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Probe of Richmond Refinery Fire Looking at Spark Sources" (AP)

"Attorneys Sue Chevron Over Refinery Fire, Claiming 'Gross Negligence'" (Contra Costa Times)

"Investigator: Chevron's Richmond Refinery Fire 'Near Disaster' for Workers; Pipe Safety in Question" (Contra Costa Times)

Photos: "Chevron's Long History With Richmond" (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Chevron's Richmond Refinery Fire Stalls Company's Efforts To Mend Image" (Contra Costa Times)

"Probe of Chevron Fire Focuses on Pipe" (San Francisco Chronicle)
 

Thursday, August 16, 2012