Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Buncefield explosion: Five companies fined £9m

Daily Telegraph

Total, the French energy giant, and four other companies must pay £9m in fines for safety violations that led to an oil depot explosion measuring 2.4 on the Richter scale.

Buncefield fuel depot fire

A court ordered Total to pay the largest sum of £6.2m for its involvement in the blast at Buncefield five years ago – Europe’s largest ever fire outside a war zone. It caused £1bn of damage, injured 43 people and forced 2,000 residents to be evacuated from their homes near the site in Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire Oil Storage, Total’s joint venture with Chevron that controlled the depot, was separately fined £2.45m.

“We fully accept our responsibilities for the events that took place and recognise the devastating consequences that the incident had on the surrounding communities and businesses,” said Lee Young, Total UK’s head of legal and company secretary.

Two UK oil giants, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, were also implicated through their joint venture, British Pipeline Agency, which was forced to pay a lesser sum of £780,000.

Motherwell Control Systems and TAV Engineering were both fined £1,000 with £500 in costs.

“The failures which led in particular to the explosion were failures which could have combined to produce these consequences at almost any hour of any day,” said David Calvert-Smith, the judge who sentenced the companies at St Albans Crown Court, Hertfordshire, on Friday.

“The fact that they did so at 6:01 on a Sunday morning was little short of miraculous.”

No one was killed in the explosion, which happened when 250,000 litres of petrol spilled from a storage tank and caught fire, while safety alarms failed to operate.

Des Collins, a lawyer representing injured workers, said the sentences were “hardly even a slap on the wrists for endangering the lives and livelihoods of so many”.

TELEGRAPH ARTICLE and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

0 Comments on “Buncefield explosion: Five companies fined £9m”

Leave a Comment

Comment Rules

  • Please show respect to the opinions of others no matter how seemingly far-fetched.
  • Abusive, foul language, and/or divisive comments may be deleted without notice.
  • Each blog member is allowed limited comments, as displayed above the comment box.
  • Comments must be limited to the number of words displayed above the comment box.
  • Please limit one comment after any comment posted per post.

%d bloggers like this: