press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron General Manager Discusses Yesterdays Incident -- Apologizes

From left: Bill Steelman, Richmond Refinery General Manager; Tony Semenza, Chevron Fire Chief; and Alford Nero, Fire Chief, City of Richmond

From left: Bill Steelman, Richmond Refinery General Manager; Tony Semenza, Chevron Fire Chief; and Alford Nero, Fire Chief, City of Richmond

RICHMOND, Calif., - March 26, 1999 - Chevron Refinery General Manager Bill Steelman said yesterday's incident is "regrettable" and apologized to the surrounding community for any inconvenience and problems associated with the explosion and fire.

"We are committed to ensuring that we have safe and environmentally responsible operations," said Steelman. "And we will do everything possible to determine the cause of the incident to ensure that something like this does not happen again.

"Chevron appreciates the swift and professional response from local and county agencies," added Steelman. "The quick action and outstanding efforts of our own employees, our emergency response team and the efforts of these regional agencies helped to safely contain the fire in a relatively short time. For this, we are thankful."

Steelman outlined the information confirmed from yesterday's incident.

  • The fire was contained within two hours after the explosion, but there are still some smoldering hot spots.
  • Chevron's fire department and operators are isolating lines that contain flammable material and securing the area so that it's safe for investigators to work.

  • All city, county, state, and federal agencies have been notified.
  • CAL-OSHA is on scene and investigating the cause of the fire.
  • A cross-functional team is being established with operational personnel, technical experts and union representatives to help investigate the cause of the fire.
  • Chevron industrial hygienists continue to sample air around the refinery perimeter. Initial indications are that there were no contaminants detected in the air.
  • The hydrocracking unit remains shut down. All other unaffected areas of the refinery are operating.
  • It is not known when the unit will be restarted, but gasoline production is continuing at the refinery at reduced levels.
  • At this point, Chevron does not expect this incident to have a significant effect on its ability to supply petroleum products to its customers.

Steelman restated Chevron's commitment to provide regular updates to the media and community as information becomes available.

The Chevron Richmond refinery, which employs more than 1,450 employees and more than 100 contractors, is one of the largest refineries on the West Coast with a 240,000 barrel-per-day capacity.

Updated: March 1999