California issues safety citations to Exxon refinery

Company says it's working to resolve citations

(Reuters) — California's worker safety agency issued citations to Exxon Mobil Corp's refining subsidiary on Friday for failure to repair faulty equipment at its Torrance, California, refinery, exposing workers to risk of injury or death, Cal/OSHA said.

The three citations stem from Exxon's failure to repair a three-inch nozzle that caused a leak of hydrofluoric acid used in the alkylation unit on Sept. 6, 2015, the agency said. An Exxon spokesman said the company was working with Cal/OSHA to resolve the citations.

"We continue to work cooperatively with Cal/OSHA to understand the findings of their investigation and the basis for their citations," said Exxon spokesman Todd Spitler. "Providing a safe working environment that protects our employees, contractors, and the community in which we operate will always be our first priority." 

The nozzle was cause of a leak in 2011 and Exxon repaired it with a clamp, which remained on the equipment until the company replaced the nozzle 48 hours after the 2015 leak. If the citations are not modified or withdrawn, Exxon, one of the world's largest corporations, could be required to pay fines totaling $72,120. 

Exxon was allowed to resume the operation of the alkylation unit in January following a Cal/OSHA inspection.The citations are not related to an explosion on the gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit at the refinery in February 2015. 

Exxon announced in September it would sell the Torrance refinery to PBF Energy Inc for $537.2 million. PBF has said it expects the sale to close in the second quarter of this year after the FCCU returns to production.

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