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Oil Terror Attacks, Explosions & Scares


Title: 10 Hurt In Texas Refinery Blast, Fire
Date:
March 31, 2004
Source:
Firehouse

Abstract: A furnace at the BP refinery has exploded and burned, sending 10 people to a hospital for treatment of exposure to chemicals.

The furnace fire followed multiple blasts that rocked the Houston Ship Channel-area petrochemical complex about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday was fueled by naphtha, a petroleum feed stock used at the refinery, said Bruce C. Clawson, the Texas City emergency management director.

Regulatory agencies will conduct investigations into the incident, which forced the evacuation of the plant for several hours Tuesday night.

``There was a boom, followed by two more booms,'' said Tommy Clark, who was in his office at Trey Industries not far from the refinery when the blasts occurred. ``It shook the whole building.''

Clawson said an internal investigation was also under way, following a heightened security alert from recent reports from the FBI and industry groups that refineries in this area might be targeted by terrorists.

``That was one of our first concerns'' with the blasts, Clawson told the Texas City Sun in Wednesday's editions. ``But there is no indication of that, none at all.''

Ten people reported to Mainland Center Hospital complaining of exposure, said spokesman Harold Fattig. He said a decontamination area had been set up in case dangerous chemicals had been released into the air.

BP spokeswoman Annie Smith said operations resumed late Tuesday.

The blasts prompted an early ending to high school baseball and softball action between the Texas City Stings and the La Marque Cougars. Texas City's junior varsity baseball team, which had been in La Marque for a game, sheltered in place at the student center at College of the Mainland.

Some College of the Mainland evening classes were dismissed.

The Texas City refinery is the largest of BP's four refineries in the Houston area. It has the capacity to refine 435,000 barrels of crude oil daily (Firehouse, 2004).

Title: New Caney Men Arrested In Pipeline Explosion
Date: September 29, 2004
Source: Chron News


Abstract: New Caney men have been arrested in connection with a pipeline explosion that caused many to be evacuated from their New Caney homes Sunday.

Douglas Lloyd Crosby, 30, and Dennis Wade Durrenberger Jr., 21, are charged with criminal mischief, a first degree felony.

The men were arrested Tuesday by investigators from the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, and remained in custody this morning.

The explosion, the result of vandalism in which a track hoe ruptured a six-inch pipeline carrying the highly flammable chemical propylene. The pipeline was operated by Mustang Pipeline Company.

Authorities said the vandalism and explosion caused more than $200,000 in damage. No injuries resulted, but many in New Caney were kept out of their homes for hours until the leak was brought under control.

Officials said further investigation will determine whether Crosby and Durrenberger may be responsible for similar acts of vandalism at other area construction sites recently (Chron News, 2004).

Title: BP America Refinery Explosion
Date: March 23, 2005
Source: CSB

Abstract: At approximately 1:20 p.m. on March 23, 2005, a series of explosions occurred at the BP Texas City refinery during the restarting of a hydrocarbon isomerization unit. Fifteen workers were killed and 180 others were injured. Many of the victims were in or around work trailers located near an atmospheric vent stack. The explosions occurred when a distillation tower flooded with hydrocarbons and was overpressurized, causing a geyser-like release from the vent stack (CSB, 2005).

Title: Explosion And Fire At Baytown Chemical Plant
Date: July 3, 2006
Source: ABC 13


Abstract: ExxonMobil says no dangerous chemicals were released into the air after an explosion at a Baytown plant.

The blast happened Sunday at the refinery on Bayway. Officials report there was an explosion in the plant's rubber processing unit followed by a fire. A shelter in place order was issued to those in the vicinity while crews put out the blaze.

No one was injured. Neighbors say they could feel the blast that knocked out their power for a while.

"I've been here for 25 years and we live with it all the time," said nearby resident Lynn Baker. "So, you know, you just take your chances."

The cause of the explosion is under investigation. ExxonMobil says it has notified all appropriate federal agencies of the explosion. The ExxonMobil Baytown petrochemical complex is the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. It houses a refinery, two chemical plants, and two research centers. The complex employs 4,000 people.

The last time we visited the plant was in January when an accidental chemical release left an oily residue all over a nearby public housing complex. In a letter to residents, ExxonMobil explained that steam containing oil was released from a vent and carried over a fence by wind. The company said samples taken from the area showed no reason for health concerns (ABC 13, 2006).

Title: Dow Chemical Port Arthur, Tex, Ethylene Pipe Explodes
Date: October 18, 2007
Source: Reuters


Abstract: An ethylene pipeline in the city of Port Arthur, Texas, belonging to
Dow Chemical ruptured and exploded Thursday morning, a spokesman for the Port Arthur Fire Department said.

He said crews had blocked the pipe and were waiting for the fire to burn out. A nearby crude butadiene pipeline belonging to Texas Petrochemicals TXPI.PK was also leaking.

None of the area refineries or other industrial installations had been evacuated. Residents downwind of the fire were asked to stay in their homes as a precaution, the spokesman said (Reuters, 2007).

Title: Evacuation Lifted, Fire At Texas Chemical Plant Under Control
Date: July 30, 2009
Source: Fox News


Abstract: An evacuation order was issued for thousands of central Texas residents and Texas A&M University campus closed Thursday as a fire burned at a chemical plant and warehouse that processes explosive ammonium nitrate.

Black smoke settled over Bryan, a city of about 80,000 people about 100 miles north of Houston, after the fire started about noon at the nearby El Dorado Chemical Co., said fire dispatcher Andy Throne. The plant blends and packages fertilizer and other chemicals, including ammonium nitrate, a chemical used to make explosives.

The fire continued to smolder but had been brought under control Thursday night and the evacuation order was lifted for a majority of the city, said Bryan Fire Chief Mike Donoho. A scaled-back order remained in effect for only a small area surrounding the warehouse, including about 30 homes in Bryan.

A plume of smoke had extended more than 60 miles from the plant and emergency officials took samples to test for airborne toxins, said fire dispatcher Andy Throne. No explosions had been reported and no cause of the fire immediately cited.

St. Joseph Regional Health Center's emergency room treated 22 people with respiratory ailments or eye irritation possibly related to the fire before it began diverting people to College Station Medical Center, where spokeswoman Melissa Purl said 12 people were treated for smoke inhalation.

Evacuees were taken in at Texas A&M's Reed Arena — used as a shelter during hurricanes Katrina and Rita — and a middle school and high school in College Station, which is about seven miles south of Bryan. A&M's Pearce Pavilion was reserved for pets.

Bryan city officials said about 900 people arrived at the university by Thursday evening.

Texas A&M spokesman Lane Stephenson said offices and classes were closed as a precaution, but he anticipated classes resuming Friday.

El Dorado Chemical's Web site describes the facility as a place where customers can stock up on ammonium nitrate fertilizer "by the truckloads" 24 hours a day. The company said in a statement that it would conduct an internal review and cooperate with authorities' investigations into the fire.

"While we are thankful no injuries have been reported, we deeply regret the enormous inconvenience this incident has caused residents and businesses in Bryan and College Station as well as other nearby communities," the statement said.

In 1947, 576 people were killed and 5,000 more injured when two ships loaded with 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Texas City. The explosion, one of the country's worst industrial accidents, shattered windows 25 miles away and blew two small planes out of the sky (Fox News, 2009).

Title: Caribbean Petroleum Refining Tank Explosion And Fire
Date:
October 23, 2009
Source:
CSB

Abstract:
A massive fire and explosion sent huge flames and smoke plumes into the air at the Carribean Petroleum Corporation near San Juan, Puerto Rico. The resulting pressure wave damanged surrounding buildings and impacted moving vehicles (CSB, 2009).

Title:
 Norway Hit By Major Cyber Attack On Oil, Defence Industries
Date:
 November 18, 2011
Source:
 
International Business Times 

Abstract: Data from Norway's oil, gas and defence systems have been stolen in what is feared to be one of the most extensive data espionage in the country's history.

Industry secrets and information about contract negotiations were stolen and "sent out digitally across the country," according to a statement released by Norway's National Security Agency (NSM).

At least 10 different firms, perhaps more, had been targeted in the biggest wave of cyber-attacks seen by the country.

None of the industries, mostly the oil, gas, energy and defence, have been named and it is feared that the number of attacked firms is higher as some may not realise they have been hacked.

Cybercrime: Prevention, Protection, Punishment Against Cyber Attacks (Conference)

"The attacks vary slightly from each other and are tailor-made so they are not discovered by anti-virus solutions. Companies that are targeted are therefore not aware of the attacks until after they have taken place," the NSA said in a statement.

"This means it is probable that industrial secrets from various companies have been stolen and sent digitally out of the country."

It is thought that the attacks may have been carried out by more than one person over the past year.

The methods used were varied, but it is thought that in some individual cases emails armed with viruses which did not trigger anti-malware detection systems were used to steal passwords, documents and other confidential material from hard-drives.

"This is the first time Norway has revealed extensive and wide computer espionage attacks," said NSM spokesperson Kjetil Berg Veire in a statement.

The attacks have occurred more often" when companies were negotiating large contracts," he said.

The NSM said that this type of internet espionage was an extremely cost-effective type of data-theft as that "espionage over the internet is cheap, provides good results and is low-risk."

Norway's oil and gas industry is ranked the third largest in the world, with 2.8 million barrels being produced each day (International Business Times, 2011).

Title: Blast Hits Egypt Pipeline Carrying Gas To Israel
Date:
April 9, 2012
Source:
Haaretz

Abstract:
An explosion hit the Egyptian pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan on Monday for 14th time since the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak began last year, security sources said.

The blast took place in the northern Sinai at the entrance of the Mediterranean coastal town of Al-Arish. Residents in the city told Reuters they had heard the sound of the explosion.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the installation that crosses the increasingly volatile Sinai Peninsula. Security in Sinai was relaxed after the fall of Mubarak in 2011 as the police presence thinned out across Egypt.
The pipeline has been shut since an explosion on Feb. 5.

Egypt's 20-year gas deal with Israel, signed in the Mubarak era, is unpopular with some Egyptians, with critics accusing Israel of not paying enough for the fuel.
Previous explosions sometimes have forced weeks-long shutdowns along the pipeline run by Gasco, a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS.

Egypt said in November it would tighten security along the pipeline by installing alarms and recruiting security patrols from Bedouin tribesmen in the area (Haaretz, 2012).

Title: Syrian Rebels Blow Up Another Gas Pipeline In Deir Ezzor
Date: June 11, 2012
Source: Press TV


Abstract: Armed groups fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have blown up another gas pipeline in the crisis-hit eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

According to the Syria’s official news agency SANA, the blast, which hit a pipeline between al-Zebari and Sa'alo villages in Deir Ezzor countryside, caused 400,000 cubic meters of gas to leak.

Pumping operations at al-Omar field were also halted following the explosion.

Terrorist groups have blown up several fuel pipelines across Syria since the beginning of unrest in the country last year.

Meanwhile, UN, Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has said that he is gravely concerned about latest reports on escalation of violence in Syria and urged both the Damascus government and the opposition to "take all steps to ensure that civilians are not harmed.''

There has been an escalation of fighting in Syria in recent days after the terrorist Free Syrian Army abandoned the ceasefire brokered by Annan and stepped up its attacks targeting civilians and government troops.

Damascus has repeatedly accused the armed groups of violating the ceasefire since it was declared on 12 April as part of Annan's six-point peace plan to end months of unrest in Syria.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011 and many people, including hundreds of security forces, have been killed in the country over the past 15 months.

While the West and the Syrian opposition say the government is responsible for the killings, Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad (Press TV, 2012).

Title: Sinai Terrorists Blow Up Gas Pipeline To Israel
Date: July 22, 2012
Source: Israel National News


Abstract: Sinai Peninsula terrorists blew up the Egyptian-Israeli pipeline for the 15th time Sunday, another sign of the area being under the control of a de facto terror state.

All of the attacks have taken place since the uprising against ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. Since then, the collapsed Egyptian government and the subsequent provisional military regime have lost control of the Sinai, which has been overrun by terrorists, many of them linked with Hamas or Al Qaeda. No group has taken responsibility for the latest attack, but Bedouin terrorists have been behind most of the explosions.

Sunday’s blast rocked the area east of the coastal Sinai town of el-Arish, at a point before the pipeline splits into separate branches to Israel and Jordan, security officials and witnesses told Reuters.

Gunmen in a small truck drove up to the pipeline, dug a hole and placed explosive charges under the pipeline that they detonated from a distance, a security official and witnesses added.

Flames of burning gas could be seen up to 30 km (18 miles) away, as sources said later they could see flames of residual burning gas lighting the sky. The flow of gas has been halted for three months since the last explosion, but Reuters reported that residents said gas shipments had begun three days ago through the pipeline.

Following the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood as a the dominant power in Egypt, Cairo canceled a 20-year agreement to supply Israel with gas.

The emergence of the Sinai as an undeclared state ruled by terrorist clans is a major concern to the United States as well as Israel and Egypt, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during her whirlwind visit to the region last week (Israel National News, 2012).

Title: Massive Fire Engulfs Chevron California Refinery
Date: August 7, 2012
Source:
RT

Abstract: Firefighters are battling with a blaze that has torn through oil giant Chevron’s Richmond refinery in California. Officials have warned residents to stay indoors as toxic fumes have been released during the fire.

The blaze has been brought under control by firefighters, but has not been put out.

The fire reportedly started in the facility’s main processing unit at 6:15pm local time Monday (01:15 GMT Tuesday).

Large flames and towers of black smoke could be seen issuing from the blaze as fire fighters struggled to bring the inferno under control.

Residents have been warned not to leave their homes as toxic sulfuric acid and nitrogen dioxide were release during the fire.

“The biggest concern is the smoke,” Randy Sawyer, an environmental health officer at Contra Costa County Health Services told Al Jazeera.

He advised residents to “go inside shut their doors and windows. Keep the outside air, the smoke, from going inside your home.”

Spokesperson for Chevron Walt Gill told the local press that it was unknown when the fire would be extinguished. Gill described the incident as a disappointment and he apologized for “inconveniencing our neighbors.”

Local sources say that all of the facility’s workers have been accounted for and that there are no injured.

An investigation is currently underway to ascertain the cause of the fire. Chevron spokeswoman Heather Kulp told local press that crews were looking into a fuel leak that occurred in the facility just before the blaze broke out.

The fire struck the plant’s main distillation unit which produces around one eighth of California’s refined oil. Concerns have been raised of a knock-on effect on local oil prices if the facility remains out of action for an extended period.

"If the refinery is disrupted for an extended period of time, there would be an effect on gasoline prices on the West Coast," Pavel Molchanov, an analyst with investment firm Raymond James told the Marin Independent Journal. "The effect on California fuel prices is likely to be meaningful."

The crude distillation unit (CDU) is of paramount importance to the oil refinery process. Significant damage could take months to repair.

Chevron’s Richmond refinery is the Bay Area’s largest facility and is capable of processing up to 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day (RT, 2012).

Title: Massive Blaze Contained At San Francisco Bay Oil Refinery As 160,000 Residents Forced To Shelter From Toxic Smoke
Date: August 7, 2012
Source:
Daily Mail

Abstract: A huge fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California, has been brought under control by firefighters today but more than 160,000 residents were still being ordered to stay indoors to protect themselves from hazardous smoke. 

The fire, which erupted at 6.15pm yesterday, hit the sole crude unit at the 245,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) plant, which accounts for one-eighth of the state's refining capacity.

A lasting outage at the refinery could cause a swift rise in gasoline prices across the West Coast, a region that is isolated from other markets.

It was not immediately clear when the fire would be extinguished or the the extent of damage caused to the plant in the San Francisco Bay area.

At least two large blazes erupted at the refinery sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air. The fire could be seen for miles across the San Francisco Bay area.

Sulphuric acid and nitrogen dioxide were released during the incident, according to the California Emergency Management Agency.

Chevron said one employee suffered minor burns at the refinery, which at its peak 10 years ago employed over 1,300 people on a site of over 2,900 acres.

Last week, the refinery reported vapour leaks and a compressor failure to California pollution regulators, according to notices. The notices did not say which units were involved.

We are 'very disappointed that this happened, and apologise that we are inconveniencing our neighbours', Chevron spokesman Walt Gill said.

A Reuters reporter who lives nearby said he heard some loud bangs and a siren as the fire erupted, but a Chevron spokesman denied reports of an explosion.

Witnesses reported to hearing at least four large explosions then seeing a fire ball in the sky, reported Mercury News.

'I walked outside and saw what looked like a lot of steam coming out of Chevron, way more than usual. I thought they must have blown a boiler,' said Ryan Lackay, a 45-year-old employee at a chemical plant next door to the refinery.

'And then all of a sudden it just went whoosh, it ignited.'

Officials were warning residents near Chevron Corp's 245,271 barrel per day refinery to remain indoors as the fire sent dangerous smoke and hazardous materials into the air, according to Contra Costa County Health Department.

Residents in Richmond, San Pablo and nearby areas have also been advised to turn off their air-conditioning and bring pets inside. 

They have been advised to have duct tape ready in case they need to further seal windows and doors. A level 3 health warning is in place which means that the fire can cause eye, skin, nose and respiratory irritation. 

Residents in other areas may also be warned to do the same depending on the direction of the wind.

BART, the public train system,  has been stopped in the Richmond area, reported NBC. 

'People who can clearly see the smoke should pay attention and keep out of the smoke and be alert and aware,' said Bay Area Air district spokeswoman Lisa Fasano. 'We do have air quality inspectors on scene and we will be taking air samples and will have the results back tomorrow.'

The burning building is a crude distillation unit, which does the initial refining of crude oil coming into a refinery and provides feedstock for all other units at the refinery.

The No. 4 CDU, where the fire broke out, is the only one at the plant, according to documents filed with state regulators, and the status of other units was unknown, although it is common to shut down the entire plant in the event of a major blaze.

Any lengthy disruption in production could affect the supply of fuel in the West Coast, particularly gasoline, due to the difficulty in meeting California's super-clean specifications. The region also has few immediate alternative supply sources.
'Chevron will have a hard time finding replacement barrels in an already short market,' said Bob van der Valk, a petroleum industry analyst in Terry, Montana.
'Refineries are already drawing down summer blend inventory in anticipation of the switch back to winter blend gasoline.'

The crude distillation unit (CDU) is at the heart of the refining process, converting the crude oil coming into a refinery into intermediate feedstock for all other units. It can take months to repair a CDU at a large plant, during which time operations are typically severely limited.

A February 17 fire at the CDU of BP Plc's 225,000 bpd Cherry Point, Washington, refinery led to a three-month shutdown and sent the regional price premium to more than $1 a gallon in some places (Daily Mail, 2012).

Title: Blast At Venezuela Oil Refinery Kills 39
Date: August 26, 2012
Source: CNN


Abstract: An explosion rocked the Amuay oil refinery in northwestern Venezuela, killing 39 people, including a 10-year-old boy, a Venezuelan official said Saturday.

More than 80 people were injured, Vice President Elias Jaua told state-run VTV.

"People are very scared," said Falcon State Gov. Stella Lugo, according to the state-run AVN news agency. "They evacuated the areas that had to be evacuated, but the situation, as the technicians are telling within the refinery, is controlled."

President Hugo Chavez decreed three days of mourning and gave his condolences to families of the victims.

The incident occurred at 1:11 a.m. when "we had a release of gas whose origin we are going to determine," Rafael Ramirez, president of the state-owned petroleum company PDVSA, told VTV. "The gas generated a cloud that then exploded and provoked fires in at least two tanks of the refinery and in the surrounding areas."

He said the explosion damaged the infrastructure of the refinery and nearby houses.

The refinery -- one of the world's largest -- is part of the giant Paraguana complex in Falcon state.

Venezuela, a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is one of the world's largest oil exporters.

The nation has a refinery capacity of more than 1 million barrels per day, according to OPEC.

Venezuela's oil revenues represent some 94% of the country's export earnings, more than half of federal budget revenues and some 30% of gross domestic product, OPEC says.

The South American country sends a large percentage of its exports to the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (CNN, 2012).

Title: Mexico Pipeline Explosion Kills 26 Near US Border
Date:
September 19, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
 An explosion at a natural gas pipeline distribution center near Mexico's border with the United States is under investigation after killing 26 maintenance workers and injuring 46 others on Tuesday.

The big fire even forced evacuations of people in nearby ranches and homes.

Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, initially reported 10 deaths at the facility near the city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas. Later, the death toll was raised to 26, including a man who was run over when he rushed onto a highway running away from the facility.

Pemex said at a news conference Tuesday night that the fire was extinguished in 90 minutes and the pipeline was shut off. The pipeline carries natural gas from wells in the Burgos basin.

The company's director-general, Juan Jose Suarez, said four of those killed were Pemex employees and the rest were employed by contractors. He told reporters in Reynosa that 46 other workers were injured, including two hospitalized in serious condition. Suarez said they haven't found any evidence showing it was an attack.

Company executives said there was a gas leak, followed by an explosion, but the precise cause had not been determined.

"Why there was such leak is something that must be investigated," said Carlos Morales Gil, Pemex's director of exploration and production.

Civil protection officials evacuated ranches and homes within three miles (five kilometers) of the gas facility, which is about 12 miles (19 kilometers) southwest of Reynosa.

Authorities didn't say how many people were evacuated, but the area is sparsely populated, Tamaulipas state's civil protection director Pedro Benavides told a Televisa station.

The highway that connects Reynosa to the industrial city of Monterrey was closed to traffic, authorities said.

Egidio Torre Cantu, governor of the state of Tamaulipas, sent condolences to the victims' relatives and vowed to make sure those injured receive help for their recovery.

Pipelines carrying gasoline and diesel in Mexico are frequently tapped by thieves looking to steal fuel.

Several oil spills and explosions have been blamed on illegal taps. But thieves seldom target gas pipelines.

In December 2010, authorities blamed oil thieves for an oil pipeline explosion in a central Mexico city near the capital that killed 28 people, including 13 children. The blast burned people and scorched homes, affecting 5,000 residents in an area six miles (10 kilometers) wide in San Martin Texmelucan (Fox News, 2012).

Title: 1 Dead, 1 Injured In Oklahoma Refinery Explosion
Date: September 29, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A sheriff says one person has died and another has been taken to the hospital by helicopter following an explosion at a refinery in Wynnewood.

Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes tells the The Oklahoman that the explosion Friday at Wynnewood Refinery was a unit used in the refining process. He wasn't sure if it was the boiler that exploded.

Red Cross Regional Director Ken Garcia said volunteers were sent to the area to provide water and snacks for the firefighters.

A portion of State Highway 17A and Highway 77 were shut down after the explosion.

Officials didn't immediately return (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Bubble Trouble: 50Ft Tsunami Of Foam Sweeps Through Village After Chemical Spill
Date: September 29, 2012
Source:
Daily Mail

Abstract: This wall of foam sparked widespread panic among locals as it rushed along a river in southern China.

The mass of soapy suds blanketed the water in Xintang, in China's Guangdong province, leading to evacuations along the banks of the river.

But officials have now said the only threat posed by the foam - thought to have been caused by chemicals washed into the river - was the possibility of 'one or two dead fish' lurking in the bubbles.

The bizarre scene is thought to have been caused after heavy rainfall washed a non-toxic chemical deodorant from a household rubbish tip into the river.

The bubbles were created when the chemical was swept over a waterfall, officials said.

 A spokesman said: 'People are right to be cautious but it is harmless. It made very large bubbles when it went over a waterfall, but apart from one or two dead fish, it is harmless' (Daily Mail, 2012).

Title: Chemical Plant Explosions In Japan Kill One, May Cripple Global Diaper Output
Date: September 29, 2012
Source:
NBC News

Abstract: Explosions at a chemical plant in Hyogo Prefecture on Saturday 
killed a firefighter and injured dozens of people, the Japan Times reported, citing local fire department and police officials said. Global production of diapers could be affected because the plant made a key ingredient in a resin used in them, Japanese media reported.

A fire broke out about 2 p.m. after an abnormal chemical reaction at Nippon Shokubai Co.'s plant in Himeji, the Japan Times said.

The first explosion occurred about 2:40 p.m. as firefighters were spraying an acrylic acid tank with water, and the second followed shortly afterward, the Times said, citing Nippon Shokubai. The blasts set ablaze a fire engine.

A 28-year-old firefighter was killed and at least 30 people were reported injured.

Nippon Shokubai is one of the world's biggest makers of acrylic acid, the main ingredient of a resin called SAP, which is used in diapers.

The plant produces about 20 percent of the world's SAP and 10 percent of global output of acrylic acid.

Operations at the plant are likely to be halted for a long time and other makers of SAP resins are operating on a full-production footing, leaving little room for back-up production, the Nikkei business daily said on Sunday (NBC News, 2012).

Title: 4 Dead, Dozens Injured In Indonesia Oil Fire
Date: October 3, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Officials say an illegal oil operation has caught fire on Indonesia's island of Sumatra, killing at least four people and injuring more than a dozen others.

Ali Mundakir, spokesman for Indonesia's state-owned oil company Pertamina, says flames shot high into the air early Wednesday at a storage reservoir holding crude oil that had been illegally siphoned off a pipeline in South Sumatra's Musi Banyuasin district.

Local police spokesman Lt. Col. R. Djarod Padakova says the raging fire caused a loud roaring noise, panicking villagers living nearby. More than a dozen people were rushed to a nearby hospital.

Padakova says there's no immediate information about the cause of the accident, which is under investigation. The fire was extinguished after burning for several hours (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Fire Erupts At Exxon-Mobil Plant In Baytown
Date: October 4, 2012
Source:
My Fox Houston

Abstract: A fire erupted at an Exxon-Mobil Plant near Spur 330, Baytown Police say.

Exxon-Mobil's internal fire department battled the blaze Wednesday evening.  Baytown PD had ambulances on standby.

There were no reports of any injuries.  A shelter-in-place was not issued, and Baytown PD said there is no danger to the public at this time.

An Exxon-Mobil spokesman sent us this statement from his Blackberry phone:

The ExxonMobil Baytown emergency response teams are currently responding to a fire at our ExxonMobil Baytown Complex.  The incident is being brought under control.

As a precaution, our Industrial Hygiene staff is doing air quality monitoring around the complex and in the community.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to the community and will update you when we have additional information
(My Fox Houston, 2012).

Title: Oil Sheen Mysteriously Appears Off Louisiana's Gulf Coast
Date: October 4, 2012
Source:
CNN

Abstract: An oil sheen about four miles long has appeared in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, a Coast Guard spokesman said Thursday.

It was not immediately clear where the oil is coming from, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Tippets.

The Coast Guard found out about the oil sheen on September 16 after someone spotted it on a satellite image from the multinational oil and gas company BP, Tippets said. A Coast Guard response team went to the location to collect samples, and sent them to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Lab in Connecticut for testing. Test results are expected in a few weeks, Tippets said.

The service's Marine Safety Unit Morgan City, in Louisiana, is heading up the investigation of the spill, which is in the part of the Gulf officially designated MC252. No one has reported any adverse effects on the environment or marine life, Tippets said.

The sheen is near the spot where, on April 20, 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded over the Macondo well, killing 11 workers and spewing oil that spread across a huge portion of the Gulf.

The badly damaged mile-deep well leaked oil into the Gulf of Mexico for five months. On September 19, 2010, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who led the federal disaster response, declared that a cement plug had permanently sealed the leak, so that it posed no further threat.

In total, about 4.9 million barrels (205.8 million gallons) of oil leaked into the Gulf, according to estimates from federal scientists.

In an incident that appears unrelated to the new oil sheen, the Coast Guard's Morgan City unit also is investigating a small amount of oil leaked from a Gulf oil platform.

Apache Corp. reported the spill to the Coast Guard and regulators as soon as the company noticed the leak on Tuesday, said Apache spokesman John Roper.

He said a valve problem caused less than two barrels (84 gallons) of oil to spill into the water near Grand Isle, Louisiana.

No marine or environmental damage has been reported from this incident either, Tippets said (CNN, 2012).

Title: Tanker Road Blast Kills Five In China's Hunan Province
Date: October 8, 2012
Source:
BBC

Abstract: A tanker carrying liquefied natural gas has exploded in central China, killing five people, including three firefighters.

The blast happened on a major motorway in Hunan province on Saturday, and was so powerful the tanker was still burning the following day.

Seven vehicles, including two fire trucks, were destroyed in the blast and 50 people had to be evacuated from their cars, state media reported (BBC, 2012).

Title: Report: Iran Blocks Cyberattack On Its Oil Drilling Platforms
Date: October 8, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: An Iranian oil official says the country has successfully blocked a cyberattack on the computer network of its offshore drilling platforms.

The Monday report by semiofficial ISNA news agency quotes Mohammad Reza Golshani, IT head of Iran's state offshore oil company, as blaming Israel for the attack.

He said the attack occurred over the past two weeks, was routed through China, and affected only the communications systems of the network. He did not provide further details.

Iran periodically reports attacks on government, nuclear, oil and industrial targets, blaming Israel and the United States. Israel has done little to deflect suspicion that it uses viruses against Iran.

Iran is odds with the West over its nuclear program. The West suspects the program is aimed at developing weapons, a charge Tehran denies (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Pipeline Blast In Eastern Turkey Halts Iran Natural Gas Flow
Date: October 8, 2012
Source: Press TV

Abstract: A pipeline explosion in the eastern Turkish province of Agri near the Iranian border has halted the flow of Iran’s natural gas to Turkey.

The blast occurred in the area of Dogubayazit, a town in Agri Province, in the early hours of Monday, Turkish energy officials said.

The cause of the blast and time of the gas flow resumption were not immediately clear, but an investigation has begun to assess the damage.

This is not the first time that the gas flow from Iran to Turkey is stopped.

In the past, Turkish officials had cited blasts caused by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists, or technical problems as the main reasons for the halts.


The PKK has claimed responsibility for similar attacks on the pipeline in Turkey.

The party has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead (Press TV, 2012).

Title: TransCanada Temporarily Shuts Keystone Pipeline
Date:
October 18, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
A federal agency says TransCanada Corp. has temporarily shut down its existing Keystone pipeline after tests showed "possible safety issues."

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says TransCanada reported shutting down the approximately 2,100-mile pipeline, which moves about 500,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta, Canada, to facilities in Illinois and Oklahoma.

Jeannie Layson, spokeswoman for PHMSA, says the possible safety issues were found on part of the pipeline that extends between Missouri and Illinois. Layson says in an email that an agency inspector has been sent to review the test results, observe repairs and follow any necessary safety activities.

She says TransCanada hasn't reported any leaks on the system.

TransCanada spokesman Grady Semmens says the pipeline was shut down Wednesday and is expected to restart Saturday (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Rebels Blow Up Oil And Gas Pipelines In Eastern Syria State News Agency Says
Date:
October 18, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
 Syrian warplanes hammered a strategic city captured by rebels, leaving behind scenes of carnage captured Thursday on amateur videos that showed a man holding up two child-sized legs not connected to a body and another carrying a dismembered arm.

Activists said airstrikes over the past two days on opposition targets across Syria's north have killed at least 43 people.

The city of Maaret al-Numan, located strategically on a major north-south highway connecting Aleppo and Damascus, was captured by rebels last week and there has been heavy fighting around it ever since. Rebel brigades from the surrounding area have poured in to defend the town. Online videos have shown them firing mortars at regime troops, and they claimed to have shot down a government helicopter on Wednesday.

Since it was captured a week ago, the city in northern Idlib province and its surroundings have been the focus of one of the heaviest air bombardments since President Bashar Assad's military first unleashed its air force against rebels over the summer.

Local activists in the city say warplanes are continuously overhead, and entire villages are largely deserted and peppered with destroyed homes.

The scenes from the city provide a window into the carnage being wrought by the Syrian military's increasing reliance on airstrikes to fight rebels waging a civil war to topple Assad. Rights groups say the airstrikes often hit civilian areas. And this week, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch accused Syria of using cluster bombs, which pose grave dangers to civilians.

The regime contends that it is fighting terrorists backed by foreign powers who seek to destroy Syria and denies using cluster bombs.

The latest onslaught from the skies left residents frantically poring through mounds of rubble searching for survivors or bodies trapped underneath.

Amateur videos purportedly filmed after an airstrike there on Thursday showed the men carrying around body parts and 18 white cloth bundles holding the remains of those killed. Activist claims and videos cannot be independently verified due to restrictions on reporting in Syria. But all videos corresponded to activists' reports and appeared to have been filmed where they said they were.

One strike hit a neighborhood near the rebel field hospital in Maaret al-Numan, activist Fadi Yassin said via Skype.

Airstrikes also hit three nearby villages on Wednesday, killing 15 people, Yassin said. Nine of those were in Kafar Nubul, while others died in the villages of Kafrouma and Hass.

Airstrikes late Wednesday and early Thursday hit at least five towns in northern Idlib and Aleppo provinces, both of which border Turkey.

The aftermath of one of the strikes was captured on video late Wednesday in the city of Aleppo. It struck a large mosque. While some men in the videos carry away bodies, others work to dig out a survivor whose legs are buried in debris.

An Aleppo-based activist who gave his name as Abu Raed said men were arriving for Wednesday evening prayers when a fighter jet dropped a bomb on the Light of the Martyrs Mosque in the Shaar neighborhood. The blast destroyed a room used for ritual washing and part of the prayer hall itself, he said via Skype.

He said at least 10 people had been killed, though the number could be higher, either because bodies were still trapped in the rubble or because people were buried before being recorded.

"There were people who took the dead and wounded away before the cameras showed up," he said.

Videos that activists said were shot soon after the attack show a block-wide expanse of rubble surrounded by buildings whose facades had been blown off. Men scour the rubble, occasionally finding bodies and carrying them off.

Rebels and regime forces have been clashing for months in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and commercial capital.

As a sign of how little months of international diplomacy has done to stop the bloodshed in Syria, a number of nations and the U.N. envoy to the Syria conflict are pushing for a temporary cease-fire during a Muslim holiday later this month. Joint U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has called on the Syrian government to take the first step in observing a truce during the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday that begins on Oct. 26.

In Amman, Jordan, he said the temporary truce could be a first step in helping Syrians "to resolve their problems and to rebuild a new Syria."

The Syrian government said it wants a cease-fire but the rebels lack a unified leadership that can agree to it.

Both sides have flouted previous cease-fires after verbally agreeing to them.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a close ally of Assad, called for the truce during a visit to Kuwait. The Iraqi government also expressed its support in a statement, calling on all sides to abandon violence "to save the region from more miseries and pains."

Activists say more than 33,000 people have been killed since the anti-Assad uprising started in March 2011.

Also Thursday, Syria's state news agency said rebels blew up two oil and gas pipelines in the northeast near the Iraqi border. The agency, SANA, said the attack hit one oil and one gas pipeline near the city of Deir al-Zour. The pipelines ran between Deir al-Zour and the city of Palmyra in central Syria.

SANA quoted an oil ministry official saying the lines were immediately shut off, the fires were extinguished. Rebels have repeatedly bombed such pipelines (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Explosion Sabotages Turkish Pipeline Carrying Natural Gas From Iran
Date:
October 21, 2012
Source:
OilPrice.com


Abstract:
Less than a week ago gas began to flow again through a Turkish pipeline carrying Iranian natural gas following an attack that had disrupted supplies. Now Turkish officials are once again reporting that saboteurs have bombed the pipe, halting the flow of natural gas and injuring 28 soldiers.

The Turkish pipeline operator Botas has already asked to Gazprom to send more gas to cover for the loss of gas coming from Iran. Gazprom will increase its supply through the Blue Stream underwater pipeline from 32 million cubic metres a day to 48 million.

Taner Yildiz, the Turkish Energy Minister, has assured Reuters that “despite the cut in the gas flow, there is no problem in meeting natural gas demand.”

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has claimed responsibility for countless attacks against Turkish pipelines during its 28 year campaign to achieve self-governance for the Kurdish region of Turkey. In recent months the attacks have increased, and oil flow has been disrupted several times though the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.

The soldiers were injured when the military vehicle they were in passed by the site at the same time as the explosion occurred (OilPrice.com, 2012).

Title: Royal Dutch Shell PLC Warns It Cannot Meet Crude Oil Supply Estimates After Pipelines Damaged
Date:
October 23, 2012
Source:
Fox News


Abstract:
Royal Dutch Shell PLC warned Tuesday that it won't be able to make its estimated production for two types of oil pumped from Nigeria, largely blaming attacks on its pipelines by thieves wanting to steal crude.

Shell said in a statement it had declared a "force majeure" warning Friday for shipments of its Bonny and Forcados crude oil — meaning it is impossible for the company to cover the promised supply from the field. Those two types of crude represent a major chunk of the oil produced in Nigeria by Shell, long the dominant foreign oil company in the West African nation.

While flooding had affected its Bonny operations, Shell said attacks on the pipelines of its local subsidiary caused the majority of its problems. A ship containing fuel stolen from its Bomu-Bonny pipeline caught fire alongside the pipe, causing damage, Shell said. Attacks also occurred on its Trans-Forcados and Brass Creek pipelines, the company said.

The company said it was working to repair the pipelines, but gave no estimate about when the lines would be running at capacity again.

The thefts, locally called "bunkering," see crude later get sold into the black market or cooked into crude gasoline or diesel at makeshift refineries that dot the oil-rich Niger Delta. Shell officials previously have said as much as 150,000 barrels of crude a day is being stolen.

The bunkering likely continues because those in power in Nigeria personally benefit from the theft. A U.S. diplomatic cable leaked last year quoted a Nigerian official as saying that politicians, retired admirals and generals and the country's elite all take part.

Shell produced about 800,000 barrels of oil a day last year, with numbers rising as militancy in the region dropped off after a government-sponsored amnesty program in 2009. However, violence and kidnappings still occur in the region about the size of Portugal.

Also Tuesday, French oil company Total SA said in a statement that it has stopped production at the onshore oil field it operates in Nigeria's southern Delta because of flooding in the area.

Total said it declared a "force majeure" 10 days ago, as it could not guarantee delivery of natural gas from the field to a nearby plant. Total said the production affected was about 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Nigeria, which produces more than 2 million of barrels of oil a day, is a top crude oil supplier to the U.S. (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Tanker Run Aground By Superstorm Sandy
Date:
October 30, 2012
Source:
ABC News


Abstract:
Powerful storm surges from Superstorm Sandy caused a nearly 170-foot water tanker to run aground in Staten Island, N.Y., on Monday night.

The front third of the tanker is grounded into Front Street. The city’s waterfront was largely destroyed, which includes a number of businesses on the water.

The 168-foot tanker was moored about a mile away when Sandy’s powerful force propelled it toward land.

No one was on the tanker and no one was hurt as a result of it running aground.

Sandy struck the East Coast on Monday night, leaving a trail of massive flooding, power outages and destruction. President Obama has issued disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey (ABC News, 2012).

Title: Fuel Truck Explodes In Saudi Capital, Killing At Least 22 People
Date:
November 1, 2012
Source:
Fox News


Abstract:
A fuel truck exploded after hitting portions of a bridge Thursday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, engulfing buildings and cars in flames and killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 110, witnesses and officials said.

The death toll was a significant increase in the number of reported casualties than in the first hours after the 7 a.m. explosion near the Saudi National Guard building in an industrial area in the city's eastern district. Columns of smoke could be seen rising from scene.

A security official told The Associated Press at least 22 people were killed and 111 were injured.

There was no immediate suspicion of terrorist links based on witness accounts, which suggested the fuel tanker exploded after striking part of a highway underpass.

Officials said rescue crews had not finished the search and the death toll was still not final.

All the officials and witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Civil Defense spokesman Capt. Mohamed al-Hammadi told the official Saudi Press Agency that the explosion occurred after the tanker spilled fuel, which expanded the area of the fireball. He described the damage as "significant" (Fox News, 2012).

Title: NYC Man Accused Of Pulling Gun In Gas Line
Date:
November 2, 2012
Source:
USA Today


Abstract:
The fight for fuel after Superstorm Sandy is starting to get nasty.

New York City authorities say a motorist was arrested after he tried to cut in line at a gas station in Queens early Thursday and pointed a pistol at another motorist who complained.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says 35-year-old Sean Bailey, of Queens, was arrested on charges of menacing and criminal possession of a weapon. It wasn't clear whether he had a lawyer.

Damage from the storm has forced many gas stations to close and has disrupted fuel deliveries, causing long lines at the gas stations that remained open.

If convicted, Bailey could face up to 15 years in prison (USA Today, 2012).

Title: 7,700 Gallons Of Oil Reportedly Spilled From Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery In New Jersey
Date:
November 5, 2012
Source:
Fox News


Abstract:
About 7,700 gallons of fuel spilled from Phillips 66's 238,000 barrels-per-day Bayway refinery in Linden, N.J., after superstorm Sandy pummeled the East Coast a week ago, Reuters reported. 

The Coast Guard made the announcement Monday. The refinery is one of the major gas producers in the region. It was closed ahead of Sandy last week. 

The Coast Guard also said it had recovered 780,000 gallons of an oil-water mixture from Kinder Morgan's Perth Amboy, New Jersey, fuel storage terminal, according to Reuters (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Stuxnet Goes Out Of Control: Chevron Infected By Anti-Iranian Virus, Others Could Be Next
Date:
November 9, 2012
Source:
RT

Abstract:
America’s cyberwar is already seeing collateral damage, and it’s hitting the country’s own billion-dollar companies. Oil giants Chevron say the Stuxnet computer virus made by the US to target Iran infected their systems as well.

California-based Chevron, a Fortune 500 company that’s among the biggest corporations in the world, admits this week that they discovered the Stuxnet worm on their systems back in 2010. Up until now, Chevron managed to make their finding a well-kept secret, and their disclosure published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday marks the first time a US company has come clean about being infected by the virus intended for Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Mark Koelmel of the company’s earth sciences department says that they are likely to not be the last, though.

“We’re finding it in our systems and so are other companies,” says Koelmel. “So now we have to deal with this.”

Koelmel claims that the virus did not have any adverse effects on his company, which generated a quarter of a trillion dollars in revenue during 2011. As soon as Chevron identified the infection, it was taken care of immediately, he says. Other accidental targets might not be so lucky though, and the computer worm’s complex coding means it might be a while before anyone else becomes aware of the damage.

“I don’t think the US government even realized how far it had spread,” Koelmel adds.

Discovered in 2010, the Stuxnet worm was reported with all but certainty to be the creation of the United States, perhaps with the assistance of Israel, to set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program as a preemptive measure against an eventual war. Only as recently as this June, however, American officials with direct knowledge of the worm went public with Uncle Sam’s involvement.

In a June 2012 article published by The New York Times, government agents with direct knowledge of Stuxnet claimed that first President George W. Bush, then Barack Obama, oversaw the deployment of the worm as part of a well-crafted cyberassault on Iran. Coupled with another malicious program named Flame and perhaps many more, Stuxnet was waged against Iran as part of an initiative given the codename “Olympic Games.” Rather than solely stealing intelligence through use of computer coding, the endeavor was believed to be the first cyberattack that intended to cause actual hard damage.

“Previous cyberattacks had effects limited to other computers,” Michael Hayden, the former chief of the CIA, explained to the Times earlier this year. “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction.”

On the record, the federal government maintains ignorance on the subject of Stuxnet. With American companies perhaps soon coming out of the woodwork to discuss how they were hit, though, the White House may have to finally admit that they’ve had direct involvement.

After the Times published their expose in June, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation to track down how the media was first made aware of America’s involvement in Olympic Games.

"I am deeply disturbed by the continuing leaks of classified information to the media, most recently regarding alleged cyber efforts targeting Iran's nuclear program,” Feinstein said through a statement at the time. “I made it clear that disclosures of this type endanger American lives and undermine America's national security."

When Feinstein spoke to DC’s The Hill newspaper, she said, "the leak about the attack on Iran's nuclear program could 'to some extent' provide justification for copycat attacks against the United States." According to the chairwoman, "This is like an avalanche. It is very detrimental and, candidly, I found it very concerning. There's no question that this kind of thing hurts our country."

Just last month, a shadowy Iranian-based hacking group called The Qassam Cyber Fighters took credit for launching a cyberattack on the servers of Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp., two of the biggest names in the American banking industry. Days earlier, Google informed some of its American users that they may be targeted in a state-sponsored cyberattack from abroad, and computer experts insist that these assaults will only intensify over time.

“We absolutely have seen more activity from the Middle East, and in particular Iran has been increasingly active as they build up their cyber capabilities,” CrowdStrike Security President George Kurtz told the Times.

Speaking of the accidental impact Stuxnet could soon have in the US, Chevron’s Koelmel tells the Journal, "I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished” (RT, 2012).

Title: Fuel Train Derails, Explodes In Myanmar, Leaving 25 Dead
Date:
November 10, 2012
Source:
CNN


Abstract:
A train hauling fuel in northwest Myanmar derailed and caught fire, killing at least 25 people and injuring 62, government officials said Saturday.

The accident occurred Friday morning when a train traveling from Mandalay overturned near the Chet-gyi rail station in the Kanbalu township, near the Myanmar-India border, the Ministry of Information said. The train was hauling seven cars containing gasoline and two cars containing diesel.

When the cars overturned, several began to leak. The 25 people killed were "fetching petrol" from the derailed train cars when three of them caught fire, state-run New Light of Myanmar reported.

Those killed were all from the village of Chet-gyi, though it was unclear whether they were civilians, rescue personnel or a mix of both.

The injured were take to area hospitals in Kanbalu and Kyunhla townships, according to the news agency.

The incident was under investigation.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, only recently emerged out from under nearly 50 years of a brutal military dictatorship (CNN, 2012).

Title: Royal Dutch Shell PLC Shuts Down Nigeria Oil Pipeline After Spills Blamed On Oil Thieves
Date:
November 11, 2012
Source:
Fox News


Abstract:
Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it has shut down a pipeline in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta after finding leaks it blamed on oil thieves.

In a statement Sunday, Shell said its Nigerian subsidiary shut down the Imo River trunk line which had six "theft points." It said the shutdown of the line would cut production by about 25,000 barrels of oil a day.

Shell said sabotage has been responsible for 25 of 26 spills on the Imo River this year, which released nearly 3,000 barrels into the river and other waterways.

Shell produced about 800,000 barrels of oil a day in Nigeria last year.

Militancy in the region has dropped off after a government-sponsored amnesty program in 2009. However, violence, kidnappings and crude oil thefts still occur (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Shell Reopens Pipeline Hit By Thieves, Flooding; Lifts Production Warning On Local Gas Supply
Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it has reopened a pipeline in the oil-rich southern delta and has lifted a month-old production warning on its supplies to Nigeria's liquefied natural gas plant.

A Shell spokesman told The Associated Press on Friday that Shell's Nigerian subsidiary had lifted a "force majeure" on supply to the plant on Nov. 8. The term is used when an oil company cannot cover the promised supply from the field.

Precious Okolobo said the decision to lift the warning came after it repaired the Trans Niger pipeline which was hit by "crude theft and flooding."

The oil giant issued the warning on Oct. 3.

The Trans Niger pipeline is a major conduit for Shell through Nigeria's oil-rich region.

Nigeria is a top energy supplier to the U.S. (Fox News, 2012).

Title: At Least 2 Dead In Offshore Oil Rig Fire In The Gulf Of Mexico
Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
RT


Abstract:
The US Coast Guard has confirmed at least 2 people are dead and two more are missing after an offshore oil platform off the Louisiana coast caught fire. Four more people have been injured and are being treated at a local hospital.

­ Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts says the platform in question is a shallow water platform located in West Delta Block 32 in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard spokesman Jonothan Lally says two helicopters, an airplane and small boats have been sent to the area.

There was no immediate report of an oil spill into the Gulf.

According to the Coast Guard, the fire was the result of an explosion at the "West Delta 32" owned by Black Elk Energry, an independent oil and gas company located in Houston, Texas.

A parish officials says the rig is not drilling at a deepwater site like the Macondo well that blew out in 2010. That blowout led to an explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history (RT, 2012).

Title: Oil Rig Fire In Gulf Of Mexico
Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
Salon

Abstract:
Coast Guard officials said an oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, sending four people to hospitals Friday. Two were believed to be missing.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lally, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, did not immediately have information on the conditions of those taken to hospitals.

The rig, a production platform owned by Black Elk Energy, is about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La.

Lally says two helicopters, an airplane and small boats were sent to the area. He did not know if the fire caused by the explosion had been put out yet.

The platform is a production platform, unlike the Deepwater Horizon rig, which was drilling an exploratory well for oil giant BP in mile-deep water well to the east of Friday’s reported explosion.

A spokesman for Black Elk Energy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Black Elk is an independent oil and gas company headquartered in Houston, Texas.

The company’s website says it holds interests in properties in Texas and Louisiana waters, including 854 wells on 155 platforms (Salon, 2012).

Title: Workers Safe After  Chemical Plant Near Dallas Erupts In Flames
Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
All workers are accounted for and safe after a chemical plant near Dallas erupted in flames.

The fire started at the Nexeo Solutions plant in Garland about 3:30 p.m. Friday. Nexeo spokeswoman Christina Reynolds says all 41 workers who were at the plant then are safe.

Fire Capt. Merrill Balanciere says it's still unclear what caused the fire, but the flames were fueled by highly flammable toluene and methanol.

Balanaciere said firefighters are pouring water onto storage tanks situated yards from the flames to keep them from igniting.

Evacuations have been ordered within a quarter-mile of the plant (Fox News, 2012).

Title: North Sea Norovirus Outbreak: Five Oilworkers Quarantined As 55 Others Show Symptoms
Date:
November 22, 2012
Source:
Scotsman.com

Abstract:
A total of five oilworkers are now being kept in isolation on the North Sea installation at the centre of a suspected norovirus outbreak.

And the oil service company which operates the Heather platform today revealed that a further 55 personal had shown symptoms of being infected with the winter vomiting bug over the last month.

Yesterday non essential personnel were evacuated from the platform, 100 miles North east of the Shetland Islands, as a precautionary measure because of concerns of a potential norovirus outbreak, leaving 70 oilworkers still on board.

The platform is operated on behalf of EnQuest by Aberdeen-based oil service company Petrofac.

A spokesman for Petrofac said yesterday that two oil workers had been placed in quarantine and isolated on the installation as a precautionary measure. But he revealed today:: “Petrofac, as duty holder of the Heather installation on behalf of EnQuest, can confirm that there are currently three suspected cases of norovirus on the installation with an additional two who are clear of symptoms but still in isolation.

“Over the course of the last month 55 personnel have shown symptoms of the virus and have been provided with medical support as required and isolated in designated cabins.”

He added: “All reasonable steps have been taken to contain the spread of the virus including personnel being isolated for an additional 48 hours once clear of any symptoms. Guidance is also being provided by onshore occupational health medical professionals.

“As an additional precautionary measure we have reduced the number of non-essential personnel on the installation, including reducing mobilisation of personnel to the installation, to limit further spread of the virus on board. The platform continues to operate safely and efficiently and has 70 personnel currently on board” (Scotsman.com, 2012).

Title: Giant Gas Blast Video: Propane Truck Explodes In Russian City
Date:
November 22, 2012
Source:
RT

YouTube Video



Abstract:
A propane truck exploded at a fuel station Wednesday night in Tver, Russia. Firefighters battled the resulting fire for 12 hours, a source in the local Emergency Situations Ministry said. No injuries were reported (RT, 2012).

Title: 45 Taken To Hospital From Pennsylvania Prison
Date:
November 22, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
Emergency management officials in Dover Borough say about 45 people at York County Prison have been taken to the hospital.

The York Daily Record says that a gas odor was reported late Wednesday night and that ambulances began taking people away. The newspaper says most of the victims appear to be female. The prison houses male and female inmates. It was not immediately known if those hospitalized include prison staff.

In tweets, emergency management officials say the patients are at York and Memorial hospitals. They say the prison is on lockdown.

Officials tell The Record that it may be some time before an official statement is released.

According to the county's website, the prison has an official capacity of 2,522 (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Gas Explosion Levels Massachusetts Building; 18 Hurt
Date:
November 23, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
A natural gas explosion in one of New England's biggest cities on Friday destroyed two buildings, including one housing a strip club, and damaged others beyond repair but didn't kill anyone, authorities said.

Firefighters, police officers and gas company workers in the area because of an earlier gas leak and odor report were among more than a dozen people injured, authorities said.

"This is a miracle on Worthington Street that no one was killed," Lt. Gov. Tim Murray said at a press conference.

The explosion in a downtown area of Springfield, 90 miles west of Boston, blew out all windows in a three-block radius, leaving three more buildings irreparably damaged and prompting emergency workers to evacuate a six-story apartment building that was buckling.

Police Sgt. John Delaney marveled at the destruction at the blast's epicenter, where a multistory building was leveled.

"It looks like there was a missile strike here," he said.

Officials at two nearby hospitals said at least 18 victims were transported there with injuries but none was critical.

Firefighters responded to the scene at 4:20 p.m. and were investigating the gas leak when the blast happened shortly after 5 p.m. The cause of the explosion hadn't been identified but was under investigation, they said.

Springfield, which has about 150,000 residents, is the largest city in western Massachusetts. It's known as the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame, which is not in the vicinity of the blast.

The explosion, in an area of downtown Springfield with commercial properties and residences, destroyed a building that housed a Scores Gentlemen's Club.

Area resident Wayne Davis said he felt his apartment building shake a block away.

"I was laying down in bed, and I started feeling the building shaking and creaking," he said.

The Navy veteran said the boom from the explosion was louder than anything he'd ever heard, including the sound of a jet landing on an aircraft carrier.

The blast was so loud it was heard for miles around. Video from WWLP-TV showed the moment of the explosion, with smoke billowing into the air above the neighborhood.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said it was through "God's mercy" that nobody had been reported killed in the explosion.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the individuals that have been injured and the people who have been displaced," he said, adding that emergency shelter was being set up for those unable to go home (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Coal And Gas Explosion Kills 18 Miners, Traps 5 In Southwestern China
Date:
November 24, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
Chinese state media say 18 people have died in the country's latest coal mine accident.

The official Xinhua News Agency said five people remained trapped underground Saturday after a coal and gas explosion in Xiangshui coalmine in southwestern China's Guizhou province.

It says 28 workers were in the mine at the time of the accident. Five of those have been rescued.

China has the world's deadliest coal mine industry, with 1,973 miners killed in accidents last year.

Safety improvements have reduced deaths in recent years, but regulations rules are often ignored and accidents are still common.

In August, a mine blast in southwestern China's Sichuan province killed 44 people, the highest single accident toll for the industry in nearly three years (Fox News, 2012).