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Ellesmere Port Pioneer: Shell UK fined £266,000 *($531,000 USD approx) after toxic gas leak

12:15, Mar 12 2008 
By Chris Smith, Ellesmere Port Pioneer

AN OIL refinery has been fined £266,681 after highly-flammable and toxic gas escaped through a corroded pipe at the Ellesmere Port plant.

Shell UK had a “narrow escape” after 20 tonnes of isobutane, mixed with 150 kg of hydrogen fluoride, escaped into the atmosphere from the HF Alkylation plant at their Stanlow Manufacturing Complex.

The gas dispersed without exploding, and no-one was hurt as a result.

But the Health and Safety Executive says that if the gas had escaped from a different part of the same pipe, it could have ignited.

Shell UK Oil Products Limited had previously pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the duty imposed by Regulation 4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 to take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents, by its failure to contain a flammable toxic gas.

At Warrington Crown Court on Wednesday morning, the company was fined £266,681 and told to pay £37,131.62 in costs. The incident happened on May 29, 2003.

*Headline information in brackets added by John Donovan and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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