Fire at Whitegate Refinery

By Seamus Whelehan

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A fire broke out early on Tuesday, 15 October at Whitegate Oil Refinery, with residents woken by the sound of a large pressure release and blaze lighting up the night sky.

The fire is believed to have come from the flare stack which, locals say, has been giving trouble for some time.

The Cork County Fire service attended the incident, along with Oil Refinery firefighting crew, with Gardaí confirming they “attended the scene of a fire at a business in Whitegate, Midleton shortly before 5.30am on Tuesday, 15th October, 2019.”

They said in a statement “the incident is not being treated as suspicious.”

Local Cllr Danielle Twomey said it was deeply distressing that the people living in close proximity to the Refinery were not evacuated as a precaution.

“I fully appreciate that the fire was dealt with quickly on the particular morning. The question remains why a precautionary evacuation of the area did not take place?”

The Sinn Fein Cllr added “reassurances need to be given to the residents by the Company and environmental experts, to reassure all the people.”

Irving Oil say the appropriate protocol was followed, with their on-site personnel responding efficiently to extinguish the fire.

The spokesperson apologized to the community for any concerns the incident may have caused and confirmed that the affected unit was safely shut down and stabilized.

They said there were no injuries resulting from this incident, and the Company has notified all the appropriate Regulatory Authorities.

The spokesperson said they continue to work with the Regulatory Authorities to investigate the cause of the incident.

Canadian based company, Irving Oil, purchased Whitegate Oil Refinery in 2016, adding to the family run firm’s network of companies in Canada and Amsterdam.

The acquisition of the East Cork site has enabled the Company to expand its business across the Atlantic basin to gain valued customers in Ireland, in addition to securing optionality for its business.

Currently Whitegate accounts for 30% of all energy supplied in the State, producing 80,000 barrels daily.

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