Azzier Blog

BP Texas City Refinery Explosion

January 24, 2024

Today’s article is the third installment in our series on North American disasters resulting from inadequate inspections and maintenance.  On March 23, 2005, a catastrophic explosion occurred at the BP Texas City refinery in Texas City, Texas. The refinery’s isomerization unit, which produces octane-boosting components for gasoline, went up in a dramatic explosion. The blast resulted in a devastating chain of events that had severe consequences for the workers and the surrounding community.

The explosion occurred in a unit that contained a distillation tower and a blowdown drum, both integral parts of the isomerization process. The blast caused a massive fire, engulfing the area and triggering a series of secondary fires in nearby units. There were 15 fatalities and over 170 people were injured, making it one of the deadliest industrial accidents in recent U.S. history.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) conducted an extensive investigation identifying several contributing factors to the incident. Inadequate maintenance practices were found to be a significant factor. The blowdown drum, a vessel used to relieve excess pressure, was corroded and had not been adequately inspected or maintained. Lack of appropriate safeguards and alarms also played a role. The control system did not provide adequate warnings or automatic shutdowns to prevent the overfilling of the blowdown drum.

The CSB investigation revealed broader issues related to BP’s safety culture and organizational management. There were concerns about a lack of communication between workers and management, insufficient training, and a failure to address known safety hazards. The complete investigative report can be found on the CSB website.

The incident prompted increased scrutiny of safety practices in the petrochemical industry, leading regulatory agencies to review and enhance safety standards. BP faced legal consequences and was fined by regulatory authorities. The company also settled lawsuits with victims and their families. The Texas City refinery explosion underscored the critical importance of proper maintenance, robust safety protocols, and a strong safety culture in industrial facilities.

In the Oil & Gas industry, Azzier CMMS plays a crucial role in mitigating the risk of critical infrastructure failure. Tero Consulting Ltd. has many Oil & Gas customers across the West and Midwest, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and there has never been an incident such as this at any of our client’s facilities. It’s important to note that BP is not a Tero customer.

WebWork Azzier has always had a comprehensive inspection workflow in our ‘Route Readings’ module. Version 8.0 takes this to a whole new level with enhanced workflows and the addition of a mobile application that genuinely empowers your inspectors.

CMMS is mandatory in most jurisdictions to maintain regulatory compliance, minimizing the risk of another disaster like this. Web Work Azzier was the world’s first web-based CMMS and continues to be a leader in this space.

Visit our website and register for a FREE TRIAL. Try out Azzier 8.0; if it works for your company, convert your trial to a production site directly and easily through our website.


Take Azzier® for a test drive at


Call 1-866-818-8376 ext. 407 for a personalized consultation of your maintenance needs or email us at . With 44 years of maintenance experience, we can help you reduce risk and improve your bottom line.

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