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Extractive Sector
Are we prepared for disaster?

Are we prepared for disaster?

Date: October 11th 2018

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

In light of the increasing global frequency of potentially fatal explosions, are we, as the largest regional oil, gas and chemical industry nation, prepared or properly equipped to deal with a similar explosive emergency?

On Tuesday 9th October 2018 there were two massive oil refinery explosions, one at Irving Oil, Canada’s largest hydrocarbon refinery, and one in Bosnia at a Russian-owned oil refinery near the border with Croatia.

In Canada, all employees and contractors were accounted for with some contractors being treated for injuries and no reported causalities. However, at Bosnia, one casualty has been confirmed with nine others injured.

In the past year there have been several reported major oil refinery explosions:
· September 1st 2018 – Germany Oil refinery explosion, eight injured and over 1800 evacuated. · August 22nd 2018 – Essar Oil refinery, London, Fireball explosion · June 27th 2018 – Abadan Oil Refinery, Iran, 18 injured one fatality · 26th April 2018 – Husky Energy Refinery Explosion and Fire, Wisconsin, 20 reported injured · 19th April 2018 – Valero’s Texas City Refinery, no injuries or fatalities · 30th January 2018 – Oil refinery Explosion in Taiwan, no reported injuries or fatalities

Petrotrin has track record a reputation of an inability to maintain its infrastructure. In 2016 the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) reported 52 oil spills, yet in 2017 there were a reported 102 oil spills.

In 2003, Petrotrin commissioned Shell Global Solutions International to conduct a Tank Integrity Assessment for their Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery Tank Farm. This 2003 Tank Integrity Assessment warned of dilapidated Tank Farm infrastructure and yet on April 23rd 2017, Tank 70, one of the 12 condemned tanks ruptured. Tank 70 spewed an alleged 125,000 Barrels of oil into our Gulf of Paria which contaminated the Caribbean Sea all the way to Mexico.

What are the integrated emergency evacuation protocols if there is a gas fireball or hazardous substance explosion or fire?

In the case of Atlantic LNG, has any evacuation training or safety protocol drills been conducted with members of fence-line communities even though this was required as per the judgement of the FFOS VS EMA/ALNG in 2004? Does this nation even own Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Vehicles? Does our Fire Services own or are they trained to wear HAZMAT suits or equipment? Do we have sufficient burn units to treat victims in the event of a massive chemical or gas explosion? Do we have trained medical staff, equipment or facilities? Our health services are already exhausted as it is. In the event of a national oil or gas disaster do we have legislation to command medical personnel to report to work on Carnival Monday morning? Do we have emergency evacuation facilitates to house displaced residents? What are our emergency protocols or evacuation procedures for our fence-line communities of La Brea Industrial Development Company Limited (LABIDCO), Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation (PLIPDECO), Point-a-Pierre and ALNG or elsewhere?

While our Nation is led down the greasy oil, gas and chemical industry road, are our institutions, or our legislature mindful of possible disasters, and are we ready?


Gary Aboud
Corporate Secretary
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea

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