TORRANCE (CBSLA.com) — A New Jersey-based oil refining company announced Wednesday it is purchasing the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance that was badly damaged in a February explosion, with the $537.5 million deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2016.
The deal, subject to “customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals,” will also not be closed until the refinery is “restored to full working order,” according to the buyer, PBF Energy.READ MORE: Karen Bass Officially Kicks Off Her Run For Mayor Of Los Angeles At Saturday Event
Also Tuesday, a federal review reported by CBS Evening News determined that the blast could have been far more damaging than it was.
Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey, who lives 14 houses from the refinery, said he was concerned he didn’t hear about about the results of review until he saw the CBS News broadcast.
“I’m concerned that the chemical board would make such a statement today without communicating with me or me safety officers,” Furey said.
Four workers were injured in the Feb. 18 blast, which led state regulators to issue 19 citations against ExxonMobil and propose penalties totaling $566,600. Cal/OSHA officials said a 2007 safety review found problems with flammable vapor in the plant’s electrostatic precipitator, but no corrective actions were taken. Regulators noted that the plant’s fluid catalytic cracker had not been working properly for as long as nine years prior to the blast.READ MORE: Police Investigating Shooting In South Los Angeles
A preliminary report by the South Coast Air Quality Management District determined the blast was caused by over-pressurization in the electrostatic precipitator – an air-pollution-control system.
“We are excited to be adding a refinery with Torrance’s complexity and we look forward to entering the West Coast market,” said PBF CEO Tom Nimbley. “… We are committed to the safe and environmentally responsible operations of the facility and look forward to welcoming Torrance’s well-trained and professional workers to the PBF family.”
The 750-acre refinery has a capacity of 155,000 barrels per day. With the purchase, PBF will increase its total capacity to about 900,000 barrels per day, according to the company.
Investigations are continuing into the February explosion, which has contributed to spiking gasoline prices in the Southland due to the cut in production. The refinery typically provides as much as one-fifth of Southern California’s gasoline supply.MORE NEWS: Strike Averted: IATSE And AMPTP Have 'Basic Contract' Agreement, Per Officials With The Theatrical Stage Employees Union
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