Power outage sends smoke over refinery

Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2006

A large plume of thick, black smoke could be seen over the Tesoro refinery in Nikiski on Wednesday morning after a power outage forced the plant to flare off hydrocarbons as a safety precaution.

No injuries were reported.

Refining Vice President Steve Hansen said power went out at a Homer Electric Association substation that serves the refinery, and the plant was shut down safely until power could be restored.

HEA spokesperson Joe Gallagher said the outage occurred at 11:07 a.m. when the substation, which serves Tesoro exclusively, experienced an equipment failure.

“It looks like a regulator failed, but we’re not sure why,” Gallagher said. HEA is investigating.

Gallagher said the electric utility dispatched a repair crew, isolated the problem and was able to put the substation back online by 12:39 p.m.

The refinery is being brought back up safely and should be operating as usual by today, Hansen said Wednesday afternoon.

Hansen said the temporary refinery shutdown “should not have any impact on the marketplace.”

The Nikiski refinery has a design capacity of 70,000 barrels of crude oil per day and employs 180 people.

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