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hemeltoday.co.uk: £96m claim from Shell over Buncefield disaster

Location: Hemel Hempstead
By chief reporter Will Green

Oil giant Shell has lodged a £96million damages claim against the operators of the Buncefield depot.

Shell is one of nearly 4,000 companies and individuals who have put in claims against Hertfordshire Oil Storage Limited (HOSL) following the 2005 disaster.

Shell owns pipeline systems on the site and stored aviation fuel there that supplied airports at Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton.

HOSL, a partnership between Total and Chevron, owned the part of the depot where the blast took place.

The company is facing a barrage of claims from companies and individuals for damages including loss of earnings and house price depreciation.

So far HOSL has received a total of 3,995 claims, which are considered to have a value of around £600million.

Included in the legal action are 259 claims from nearby residents, represented by solicitor Des Collins, who is in talks with HOSL in a bid to settle matters out of court.

The Buncefield depot remains closed since the disaster and Shell’s claim includes loss of fuel sales.

The depot handled eight per cent of overall UK oil supplies, 20 per cent of supply to consumers in the south east and 40 per cent of Heathrow’s demand for aviation fuel.

Shell did not wish to comment on its claim.

The investigation into the Buncefield disaster continues and no announcement has been made about when or if a prosecution will take place.

In a statement HOSL said: “At this time liability for the incident has not been established or admitted and the final Health and Safety Executive report is still awaited. In the meantime, HOSL continues to pursue structured settlement negotiations with claimants in accordance with the undertaking it gave to the court.”

18 May 2007

http://www.hemeltoday.co.uk/news?articleid=2888547

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