January, 2011

This is a repeating event

201106JanAll DayHorizon Oil Sands Explosion 2011Horizon Oil Sands Fort McKay (CA-AB) Origin: Marsh Industry:RefiningCountry:CanadaLanguage:ENLoC:Operator error


An explosion occurred on this oil sands upgrader site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Five workers were injured in the blast, including one who received third-degree burns. A subsequent fire occurred at the top of one of the site’s four coke drums and burned for nearly four hours. As a result, two of the coke drums were disabled. Workers returned to normal shifts the following morning. The majority of the damage was sustained above the cutting deck and derrick infrastructure of the coke drum. At the time of the incident, the plant was operating on bypass conditions due to process upsets. An internal investigation team determined that the fire resulted from the opening of the top unheading valve on an active low-pressure coke drum. This allowed hot hydrocarbons to be released within the coker cutting deck building and was followed by ignition, leading to the explosion and fire. Exceptionally cold weather following the incident hampered efforts to gain access to the coker unit’s cutting deck, due to the deluge protection in this area. Firefighting in freezing conditions caused additional damage.

[ Property Damage $385 Million. Estimated Current Value $425 Million ]

Image credit: CBC