The fine was imposed after Shell admitted breaches of sections 2(1) and 3(1) HSWA, Regulation
4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations, and four further environmental charges following the
explosion at its Bacton gas terminal in Norfolk in February 2008. Investigations by the HSE and the
Environment Agency found that the cause of the blast was a leak of hydrocarbon liquid into the environmental
waste treatment plant which had been subject to significant corrosion causing thinned walls in a separator
vessel. It was also found that safety devices which should have prevented any dangerous changes in liquid level
had not been set to respond automatically and that Shell’s system of inspection at eight year intervals was
insufficient as it had allowed the vessel to degrade to such an extent that it became unsuitable during that time.
Earlier incidents which highlighted a potential problem with the vessel were also not followed up. In addition to
the £1m fine, Shell was also ordered to pay costs of £242,000.