Husky Energy looks to the future 1 year after explosion

SUPERIOR, WI — It’s no doubt been a long year for Husky, as they’ve been mapping out the future of the refinery.

Company officials say they have a plan in place to bring back the refinery, making it safer, and more energy efficient, in the future.

There are signs of a rebuild going on, as Husky has moved in some heavy machinery to begin removing and upgrading some old equipment.

“The demolition is really starting to take off now,” Kollin Schade, Vice President of Refinery Operations, said.

That demolition is expected to last from mid-summer until early fall, paving the way for improvements to the refinery.

“The face is going to start changing. The pots and pans as we tend to refer to them as, they’re going to start coming down, and then late next year, we hope to replace them with some of the new shiny equipment coming in,” said Schade.

New equipment means safety upgrades to the refinery’s controversial hydrogen flouride tank, which includes a rapid transfer system that can transfer HF to a separate and secure hold tank, should a leak occur.

Additional layers of water mitigation, blast protection and an enhanced leak detection system that uses lasers and cameras.

“We do all of those things. We looked at the alternatives, and we said, ‘On balance, we think adding things to what is already a safe system is the right answer,’ and that’s the proposal we have to regulators at this time,” Rob Symonds, Chief Operating Officer for Husky, said.

Refinery spokespeople say they hope to have all their permits squared away before the end of summer 2019 so the rebuild process can begin shortly after demolition ends.

“We took a hard look at the rebuild process and what we were going to come back with. I think the most important part is we wanted to come back as a safer, more environmentally friendly refinery,” Schade said.

As it has since the day the refinery went up in flames, Husky says it will continue to provide full-time employment to the facility’s roughly 200 employees during the demolition and rebuild process.

“Husky came in right away after the incident [and] made that committment to rebuild this facility which is a hige committment not only to the employees, but to the community itself,” said Schade.

The company says it aims to be fully operational again by late next year or early 2021.

In all, this process is expected cost around $400 million.

In addition to more safety measures, Husky plans to add several energy efficiancies, which will help lower emissions.

Krystal Frasier

Krystal Frasier

Social Media and Digital Content Manager

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