Husky: $27M in Damage, $53M in Expenses, 2020 Restart

Updated: July 26, 2018 06:46 PM

Following an explosion and fire in April, Husky Energy says its Superior refinery is not expected to resume normal operations until 2020.

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The announcement came in a second-quarter earnings statement released Thursday, exactly three months after the incident.  The statement says the refinery is not expected to resume normal operations for at least 18 to 24 months, which would put the restart between January and July of 2020 at the earliest.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company said it has incurred about $53 million in expenses related to the incident, but that it expects insurance to cover the expenses, less deductibles.  The company also said the incident caused $27 million in damage, which is covered by insurance.

There was no mention of the refinery's future plan for use of hydrogen fluoride, and Mayor Jim Paine expects there won't be for a while.

"They are still in the full evaluation process of the refinery," said Paine. "We very much want them to find a safer alternative. We also in the meantime want them to install more safety mechanisms to prevent any release of hydrogen fluoride, and on top of that, the thing we have to be very clear about, we want to prevent explosions."

The explosion and fire injured about 20 people and forced tens of thousands of residents to evacuate from Superior and rural areas south of the city.

Husky said the investigation into the cause is ongoing.  Repair work will begin once the investigation and cleanup are complete.

As clean-up continues, no layoffs are expected for the 180 employees. In fact a Husky spokesperson said they'll need all hands on deck, including employees and bringing in a number of contractors as re-building gets underway.

"There's still plenty to keep people employed at that refinery so it remains a significant driver of our economy," said Paine.

As for the next steps, Paine says he meet with Husky's CEO to figure out what to do with the refinery in the coming change of season.

"There's a winterization process that needs to take place. Before this refinery operates, there's still a turn around that needs to take place to overhaul and repair all the equipment in the refinery," Paine said.

The company completed its purchase of the refinery five months before the explosion.

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