Chevron Flaring Incident
UPDATED: Richmond Chevron Flaring - December 29, 2014
Chevron has voluntarily agreed to have Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) oversee the investigation of the December 18 flaring at the Richmond Refinery and to keep CCHS and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District informed of the investigation. Chevron will meet with CCHS and Air District representatives on a weekly basis to provide status on the investigation and will share a draft of the final report with the CCHS and Air District for comments before the final report is complete. The investigation lead will provide an overview of the investigation once it is complete and the underlying process data used in the investigation will be available for review by the CCHS and Air District.
Chevron submitted a 72-hour report to CCHS on December 19. The Chevron report indicated a loss of cooling resulted in the need to depressurize the refinery's solvent de-asphalting unit, and that the unplanned flaring incident occurred as part of the refinery’s safety system to depressurize and shutdown the unit. Flaring is a safety measure refineries use to burn excess fuels released to depressurize an effected unit. County Hazardous Materials staff was notified of the flaring activity at the Chevron refinery about 6:55 p.m. on December 18. The flaring occurred intermittently for about three hours. Hazardous Materials staff responded to the scene to assess the situation and determined a shelter-in-place was not needed because no odors were detected and ground level fenceline chemical monitors at the site did not register levels that would require a shelter-in-place. Contra Costa Hazardous Materials will review and audit Chevron's corrective action plan process for the incident.