Shell in court over refinery leak

Shell's Swedish refinery business, Shell Raffinaderi, has been charged with causing environmental damage and breaching regulations on flammable and explosive products.

Gothenburg district prosecutor Jörgen Lindberg has demanded that company pay a corporate fine of 1.5 million kronor.

On 1st June 2003 an external pipe burst at Shell’s industrial plant in Gothenburg’s Hisingen area. As a result, 600,000 litres of petrol leaked out over the course of the next 90 minutes, soaking into the ground and evaporating.

The prosecutor considers that from October 2000 to June 2003 the company’s management fell short of its safety obligations. However, no individuals have been accused of any specific crimes.

Shell Raffinaderi says it does not believe that the accident occurred because of any carelessness on its part. In a report to the police the company wrote that what happened on 1st June 2003 was the result of an accidental incident.

The company also said that it would try to learn as much as possible from the incident “to avoid a repeat”.

TT/The Local