Monday, October 26, 2009

CFATS and the Fire in Puerto Rico

With the Caribbean Petroleum Corporation's fuel storage depot fire in Bayamon, PR essentially out and the investigation into the cause just barely beginning, it does appear that this fire may have a significant impact on CFATS enforcement. What the Chemical Safety Board is calling a “major explosion [emphasis added] and fire at a petroleum storage facility” may provide the definitive answer to the question of whether or not gasoline is capable of forming a ‘vapor cloud explosion’. This is important because the petroleum industry is currently claiming that fuel storage facilities should not be considered high-risk facilities because of the low chance of a gasoline release resulting in a vapor cloud explosion. Providing fuel storage facilities a blanket removal from consideration as potential high-risk facilities would allow the fuel distribution industry to continue their current practice of providing only minimal security measures at such facilities.

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