High Court rules Buncefield supervisor was negligent on night of explosion

Total UK, part of the world’s 4th largest energy group , has admitted that the explosion at its Buncefield oil depot in Hertfordshire in December 2005 was the result of negligence, but it denied liability, according to reports.

Following admissions by Hertfordshire Oil Storage (a joint venture between Chevron and Total) and Total UK, the High Court Judge ruled that the supervisor on duty at Buncefield Oil Storage Depot on the night of the explosion was negligent.

Hertfordshire Oil Storage and Total UK have advised the claimants in the Buncefield civil litigation they agree that there was negligence on the part of the duty supervisor at the time of the incident, and that this negligence was one of the causes of the incident.

In a statement Total UK said: ‘It should be clearly understood that this is not an admission of civil or criminal liability on the part of HOSL and Total UK. The question of which company involved in the dispute is liable for the admitted act of negligence by the duty supervisor at the Buncefield terminal will be determined through the civil court case which commences in October 2008.’