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Per barrel, Wyoming oil refineries worst for safety violations

February 7, 2013

oil refineryWyoming oil refineries faced more citations for dangerous safety conditions per oil barrel of production capacity than those in any other state over the past five years, a Casper Star-Tribune analysis of federal data shows.

Government safety inspectors tagged Wyoming refiners with 239 citations for serious, willful or repeat safety violations in 2008-2012, according to data from federal OSHA. That means Wyoming refiners were cited on an average of every eight days.

Only two other states — Louisiana and Texas, each of which has at least triple the number of refineries and around 20 times Wyoming’s refining capacity — were cited for at least 200 violations over the same period. Wyoming hosts six refineries that produce about 165,000 barrels of oil per day.

The past two years alone have uncovered serious safety concerns at Wyoming refineries, which were cited by regulators for 205 safety violations in just 2011 and 2012, OSHA data shows.

Of the five other states that have a refining capacity similar to Wyoming’s, only Utah’s refineries were cited for at least 100 violations from 2008 to the end of 2012. Refineries in Tennessee were cited for 45 violations, the second-highest number of that group.