Were chemical and BP blasts terrorism? FBI investigating 6 "major incidents" at US plants in space of 15 months
August 14, 2005
BP incidents draw FBI scrutiny
Published August 13, 2005
The FBI's not going near that, but did confirm it was conducting what it called routine investigations of the incidents.
Bureau officials said there was no evidence or indication that any of the incidents might involve deliberate acts, and that such probes had become routine since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
BP's Texas City oil refinery and a subsidiary's chemical plant at Chocolate Bayou have been at the center of six large incidents in the past 15 months.
Those include explosions in three separate cases, one of which had mass casualties. They also include a pipe rupture that killed two workers and severely injured a third, a late night leak of Gasoil that put a city under a shelter-in-place order and a large explosion and fire at the Innovene Chemical plant.
Special Agent Al Tribble said the bureau was looking into the incidents to see if there is a connection. He said the agency was involved not so much because there appears to be a link or evidence of wrongdoing, but because of the climate that has existed since the terror attacks of 9/11.
"This is routine — part of the process now," said Tribble. "We are typically contacted after such events as a matter of the course of doing business since 9/11."
He stressed that there is no evidence to indicate the timing of any of the recent incidents was anything other than coincidence.
In the hours after the March 23 blasts, it was the FBI and the region's Joint Terrorism Task force that ruled terrorism was not a likely cause. The explosions killed 15 people and injured more than 170 at BP's Texas City oil refinery.
BP, as is routine for petrochemical companies, would not discuss the investigation. Spokesmen cited a policy of not discussing security matters.
Tribble said such investigations involve the FBI as well as members of the region's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The investigation will include information gathered from other agencies, such as the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"All is a component (of the investigation)," said Tribble. "All respond to these sort of things."