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Texas City (2005)

The explosion at BP’s refinery in Texas City in March 2005 was one of the most serious industrial disasters in the USA during recent decades.

This article was originally published in
Safety - Status and Signals 2012-2013

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Fifteen people were killed and almost 200 injured.

A distillation column and a blowdown tank had been overfilled with liquid hydrocarbons during a restart. This caused a major leak, followed by ignition and explosion of the gas cloud which formed.

In addition to the fatalities, the explosion and fire caused huge material damage in and around the refinery.

The accident helped to highlight the link between management and major accidents, after an inquiry found it was primarily caused by organisational and safety deficiencies at every level in BP.