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Phillips 66 Refinery flare as seen from Slater Road east of Imhof Road (April 15, 2018). Photo courtesy of Brian DeFries

UPDATED: Flaring event at Phillips 66 Refinery blamed on power disruption

Flaring caused by an activated safety system at the Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery at 3901 Unick Road resulted in a larger than normal flare and smoke along with loud noises, alarming some nearby residents.

“This afternoon we experienced a power disruption at the refinery, which resulted in activation of the refinery safety system to place all refinery units in a safe state. As a result, there was a flaring event,” said Josh Summers, director of public affairs at Phillips 66 in an email.

“Although flaring is minimized as much as possible, we sometimes experience flaring as part of start-up or shut-down procedures during maintenance or unplanned process interruptions such as a power disruption. The sight of a flame and the noise that sometimes accompanies it is normal and an important part of keeping our refinery running safely.”

Summers said there were no injuries reported due to the flaring event. “Fence line and community air monitoring are ongoing and there have been no detectable offsite impacts,” he said.

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Nearby BP Cherry Point Refinery at 4519 Grandview Road in Blaine is currently engaged in a shutdown for planned maintenance which was not reported to be related to today’s incident at the Phillips 66 facility.

UPDATE 9:30pm
Neighbors are reporting the loud noise is continuing from the refinery. Summers said in an email, they are still “working diligently to bring this to a resolution. That said, our number one priority is safe operation of our units. We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience.”

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