NATIONAL NEWS

Wisconsin’s only oil refinery to reopen after 2018 explosion

Apr 26, 2023, 11:09 AM

FILE - This aerial image from video provided by KSTP-TV in Minneapolis shows smoke rising from the ...

FILE - This aerial image from video provided by KSTP-TV in Minneapolis shows smoke rising from the Husky Energy oil refinery after an explosion, April 26, 2018, at the plant in Superior, Wis. Wisconsin's only oil refinery is on track to be fully operational in June 2023 after a $1.2 billion effort to rebuild the facility five years following an explosion. The 2018 explosion and subsequent fires at the facility then-owned by Calgary-based Husky Energy in Superior injured three dozen workers and fears of a hydrofluoric acid leak caused 2,500 people in the city to evacuate. (KSTP-TV via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(KSTP-TV via AP, File)

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s only oil refinery is on track to be fully operational in June after a $1.2 billion effort to rebuild the facility five years following an explosion that injured three dozen workers.

The 2018 explosion and subsequent fires at the facility then-owned by Calgary-based Husky Energy in Superior also produced fears of a hydrofluoric acid leak, causing 2,500 people in the city to evacuate.

No acid leaked but a tank containing hot asphalt spilled 17,000 barrels into the facility. The asphalt caught fire, sending up a plume of black smoke that released thousands of pounds of flammable hydrocarbon vapor. The explosion caused about $550 million in damage to the refinery.

The refinery is now owned by Calgary-based Cenovus Energy. Cenovus said Wednesday the refinery is on track to resume full operations by the end of June, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

The cost to rebuild the refinery tripled from initial projections, and it took years longer than expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A final report released by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board in December found the refinery’s lack of safeguards during a maintenance shutdown led to the explosion. The board made 16 recommendations to improve safety, most of which applied to the refinery and Cenovus.

Superior Mayor Jim Paine said he’s working with the Superior Fire Department to ensure the recommendations are implemented to the city’s satisfaction.

As the refinery prepares to restart, Cenovus implemented safety upgrades to the hydrofluoric acid unit, said Doreen Cole, the company’s senior vice president of downstream manufacturing.

Other safety upgrades include seven remote-control water cannons, continuous video surveillance and the use of color-changing paint to detect any potential release.

The refinery typically produces gasoline, diesel and asphalt with a capacity of roughly 50,000 barrels per day. Around 350 employees will now work at the refinery, which previously employed about 200 workers.

National News

FILE - Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Garvey points to his supporters as he walks on the st...

Associated Press

Steve Garvey visited Israel, but will it win over California voters in Senate race against Schiff?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Looking to boost his longshot bid for one of California’s U.S. Senate seats, Republican Steve Garvey traveled to Israel last month searching for room to run against U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff — a Jewish Democrat known for his support of America’s key ally in the Middle East. It’s common for politicians […]

7 minutes ago

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 fatal shooting...

Associated Press

Case dismissed against Alec Baldwin in fatal shooting of cinematographer

A nearly three-year legal saga for Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer ended Friday with the actor cleared of wrongdoing.

2 hours ago

FILE - Leaders take their seats for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO summit in...

Associated Press

With words, deeds and arms deals, allies make the case for NATO in terms that would appeal to Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — European allies in NATO are stepping up their military spending, just as Donald Trump wanted. They’re pointing to common interests, such as concerns over China. They’re creating American jobs by buying U.S. weapons. In words, deeds and arms deals, leaders of the United States’ partners in NATO are making the case for […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Members of the Henderson Fire Department load Deb Billet, 66, into an ambulance before trans...

Associated Press

Things to know about heat deaths as a dangerously hot summer shapes up in the western US

PHOENIX (AP) — A dangerously hot summer is shaping up in the U.S. West, with heat suspected in dozens of recent deaths, including retirees in Oregon, a motorcyclist in Death Valley, California and a 10-year-old boy who collapsed while hiking with his family on a Phoenix trail. Heat is the top cause of weather-related fatalities […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

The UN condemns increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution condemning “in the strongest terms” the increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace, stability and security in the country and the region. Friday’s resolution expresses grave concern at illegal arms and ammunition flowing into Haiti and their link […]

8 hours ago

FILE - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listens to a speech during the opening of the High-L...

Associated Press

UN chief urges funds for Palestinians, saying Israel is forcing Gazans ‘to move like human pinballs’

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief appealed for funding Friday for the beleaguered U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, accusing Israel of issuing evacuation orders that force Palestinians “to move like human pinballs across a landscape of destruction and death.” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a donor’s […]

9 hours ago

Wisconsin’s only oil refinery to reopen after 2018 explosion