The acting CEO of OfReg Duke Munroe broke down details of the fine imposed upon Sol Petroleum Limited, following a fuel tank fire at the company’s Jackson Point Terminal in July 2017.
Sol was found liable for more than a quarter of a million dollars.
It was July 23rd last year when fire crews battled heroically for eight hours to bring the flames under control. South Sound residents were evacuated from their homes.
No-one was hurt in the fire, but the utilities watchdog found Sol guilty of failing to take precautions that might have prevented the incident.
The company has been fined $286,700: $86,700 for the cost of the investigation and $200,000 for the breach itself.
Provisions for a fine of half a million dollars do exist, but the acting OfReg CEO defended the decision to impose less than half of that on Sol.
“It was based on a number of factors considering the gravity of the incident,” Mr.Munroe explained.
He said the fine had to be sufficiently punitive, “but at the same time also taking into account the co-operation from Sol, the early acknowledge and admission of the issue.”
He added OfReg had also looked at other jurisdictions to see their approaches to imposing fines.
Since the incident happened in 2017, both OfReg and Sol have worked together to identify what happened, address the shortcomings and put measures in place to prevent a repeat incident.
Mr. Munroe indicated that was one area where much of the fine will be spent.
“In cases like this we review to try to ring-fence these funds to build our capacity to deal with incidents like these,” he said, stressing it would help achieve “a greater level of compliance across the industry.”
They also agreed that welding will not be carried out on fuel storage tanks in-service from now on.
Sol Petroleum Ltd. has already paid both the fine and the investigation costs.