The Guardian: Major fuel depot supplied two airports: "The depot itself first came into use in 1968 but for the last 15 years has been run as a joint venture by oil giants Total and Texaco. It is also used by the other leading petrol firms BP and Shell.": Sunday December 11, 2005
Staff and agencies
Sunday December 11, 2005
A huge cloud of smoke rises from the burning Buncefield oil depot, in Hemel Hempstead. Photograph: Max Nash/AP
With its close proximity to the M1 motorway, the Buncefield oil depot has become one of the UK's major distribution terminals.
Reported to have a storage capacity of 150,000 tonnes, Buncefield holds stocks of not only oil and petrol but also the aviation fuel kerosene, used to supply airports across the region including Heathrow and Luton just 10 miles away.
The depot itself first came into use in 1968 but for the last 15 years has been run as a joint venture by oil giants Total and Texaco. It is also used by the other leading petrol firms BP and Shell.
A high-pressure oil pipeline, run by British Pipeline, runs all the way from the Lindsey oil refinery in north Lincolnshire to the Buncefield site, where the oil is then stored.
It is one of three underground supply pipelines feeding Buncefield.
A two-day public inquiry was held into plans for the depot in Green Lane, Hemel Hempstead, but the development met with little local resistance.
However, during major protests against rising fuel prices in 2000, Buncefield became a focus for several demonstrations, with trucks used to block gates in and out of the depot.
11.12.05: Buncefield fuel depot explosion
11.12.2005: Fuel depot hit by huge blasts
11.12.2005: 'It was terrifying ... everything was shaking'
Can you see the smoke? Did you feel the blasts?
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