Total UK, a subsidiary of French oil giant Total SA, pleads guilty to 2005 UK explosion charges
Total UK pleaded guilty to two charges of breaching the UK’s Health and Safety Act and one of causing pollution.
A major explosion at the Buncefield oil storage facility in Hertfordshire on December 11, 2005 devastated the area, injuring 43 people and forcing more than 2,000 others to evacuate their homes.
The Buncefield explosion measured 2.4 on the Richter scale and could be heard 200 km away. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.
In what was said to be the largest explosions in Europe since after World War 2, a vapor cloud formed after 300 tons of petrol was spilled, ignited resulting in an explosion with an intensity equivalent to a Magnitude 2.4 earthquake.
The oil terminal was jointly owned by two of the world’s giant oil companies: the French company Total, and the US company Chevron.
“Buildings on the surrounding industrial estate – and some homes up to three miles from the scene – suffered severe structural damage. The depot held massive stocks of not only oil and petrol but also the aviation fuel kerosene, used to supply airports across the region including Heathrow and Luton.” UKPA reported.
The High Court in the UK ruled in March 2009 that Total should pay £750m [$1.24billion] in damages to the individuals and businesses who sustained losses as a result of the explosion. Total UK will appeal the ruling next year, the report said.
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