On 29th May 2000 at 18:07 p.m. all power was lost to No. 1, 5 & 10 electrical substations that supply electrical power to the North Side of the Complex which contains the Oil Refinery, various chemical plants, utility plants and logistics facilities.
As a result, emergency shutdown of the Oil Refinery and the chemical plants on the North Side occurred and the utility plants were also affected due to a loss of power to the main cooling water pump systems. (There was some smoky flaring visible as a result of the emergency shutdown.)
In addition because of the duration of the power failure, a controlled shutdown of some other facilities elsewhere on-site (some chemical plants on the South Side and the Kinneil operations) was also necessary because the supply of steam for the correct operation of the flare system could not be maintained.
No injuries resulted
An 18" medium pressure (MP) steam main located near to the A904 Bo’ness road ruptured at 23:18 p.m. on 7th June 2000 resulting in a significant loss of MP steam directly into the atmosphere. The steam leak damaged fencing immediately adjacent to the ruptured pipework. Debris and steam was blown across the road until the leak was isolated. The leak also caused significant noise (similar to a jet engine) being heard in the Grangemouth area. A member of the public walking the dog 300 metres away sustained rib injuries from tripping over the dog.
There was significant disruption to the steam supply system for the Complex for approximately one hour until the steam leak could be isolated and as a result of the incident the A904 Bo’ness road was closed for public access until 22nd June whilst repairs were carried out.
The Fluidised Catalytic Cracker Unit situated on the Oil Refinery had been shutdown on 29th May 2000 following the power distribution failure. On 10th June 2000 at approximately 03:20 a.m. during start up procedures which commenced on 9th June there was a significant leak of hydrocarbons from the Fluidised Catalytic Cracker Unit (FCCU or Cat Cracker) creating a vapour cloud which ignited resulting in a serious fire. On and off-site emergency services were mobilised, the BP Incident Management Team (IMT) were called in and the Grangemouth Petrochemicals Complex Major Incident Control Committee (MICC) was convened. The fire was brought under control in approximately 90 minutes and totally extinguished by 10:30 a.m.
During the fire and in the fire-fighting efforts some damage resulted to asbestos cladding surrounding pipework and vessels. Some hydrocarbons in the contaminated firewater run-off were discharged directly into the River Forth.
No injuries occurred to the workers in the vicinity. They followed the emergency response procedures. However, there was the potential for injury to people and greater damage to equipment.