News.com.au (Australia): Shell faces fresh prosecution: “SHELL Australia is facing fresh prosecution over licence breaches at its Geelong refinery.”: Monday 12 Sept 2005
September 12, 2005
SHELL Australia is facing fresh prosecution over licence breaches at its Geelong refinery.
Victoria's environment protection authority has criticised the poor environmental performance of the company's jetty operations. Shell has no documented plan to deal with a tanker hitting the refinery jetty, an accident that could release hundreds of thousands of litres of hydrocarbons into Corio Bay, an EPA Victoria audit has found.
There was an unacceptably high risk that spilt oil could damage the marine fauna and the shore surrounding the jetty, the audit found.
Shell Geelong refinery spokeswoman Joan McGovern confirmed the hazard analysis did not take into account a ship hitting the jetty.
Ms McGovern said the refinery's performance had improved since 2003, when there were 282 recorded licence breaches. The number fell to 112 last year.
"No one, especially us, wants any spills to Corio Bay and these are vastly reduced by the replacement of jetty pipes and other projects," she said.
The EPA's executive director of regional services, Bruce Dawson, said Shell remained in breach of its environmental licence because of continued oil leaks and spills, visible air emissions and odour from the refinery.
The EPA audit, ordered after leaks at the jetty in 2003, found that the $12 million Shell spent during the audit had improved jetty pipes, but Shell needed to spend a lot more to comply with its EPA licence, Mr Dawson said.
Shell is facing court action by the EPA over an oil spill into the bay in April. The EPA revealed it is finalising an investigation into a separate incident in May, with Shell facing a fine or further legal action.
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