Holly Refinery Shuts Down Part Of Its Tulsa Refining Operations

Monday, April 25th 2011, 4:10 pm
By: News On 6

NewsOn6.com & Emory Bryan, News on 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Part of the Holly refinery in west Tulsa has been shut down.

The company says it has powered down its crude oil refining operation at its old Sun Oil refinery or the west refinery. 

That is not the same refinery where a huge fire broke out Friday night, inside a storage tank filled with petroleum waste.

That refinery was old Sinclair refinery or the east refinery.

4/23/2011 Related Story: Lightning May Have Sparked West Tulsa Refinery Fire

In a news release on its website, Holly blames the shut down not on the fire, but on a mechanical failure, discovered at the refinery Friday night. 

Read Holly Corporation News Release.

Holly says its crude unit will be off-line for several days while repairs are made. 

The company owns side-by-side refineries along the Arkansas River and says its other refinery isn't affected.

The state Department of Environmental Quality said it was expecting a preliminary report Tuesday that would address only air quality issues and that Holly was responsible for reporting any air quality problems.

The cause of the fire is not under investigation by any outside agency.

A Tulsa Fire Department spokesman said Holly told him the fire was possibly caused by lightning, but News On 6 weather data shows storms passed over the refinery several hours before the fire was reported.

Last month, OSHA cited Holly for violations at its other Tulsa refinery, specifically for failing to eliminate ignition sources such as static while employees handle flammable liquids. The company was also cited for an inadequate emergency response and evacuation plan.

3/14/2011 Related Story: Tulsa-Based Holly Refinery Cited For More Than A Dozen 'Serious' Violations

The refinery was not evacuated Friday night during the fire, which happened in a tank far from most of the workforce. The emergency response came quickly and the fire was extinguished without help from Tulsa Fire Department, which was kept outside the refinery property.

The fire happened at the former Sinclair Refinery, which was also cited for safety issues in 2009, before Holly bought it.

During the purchase, Holly said it would be spending millions of dollars to update the two connected refineries, which together cover more than 1,200 acres in West Tulsa.

The refineries primarily produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.