Shell fined €2.5 million for Moerdijk explosion

Shell fire
An explosion at the Shell Moerdijk facility in June 2014 (Photo: OttoWise / Twitter). (An explosion at the Shell Moerdijk facility in June 2014 (Photo: OttoWise / Twitter))

Shell must pay a fine of 2.5 million euros for an explosion on the company's Moerdijk site in 2014, the court in Den Bosch ruled on Monday. According to the court, the oil- and gas giant did not take sufficient measures to prevent such a major incident, NU.nl reports.

The explosion happened in a reactor of Shell's chemical plant in Moerdijk, Noord-Brabant on 3 June 2014. Two people were injured. The explosion was felt as far as Utrecht. The Dutch Safety Board previously concluded that Shell paid too little attention to the risks. 

The court found Shell guilty of violating the Working Conditions Act and the Environmental Management Act. The court also held Shell liable for leaking a large amount of toxic gas from the Moerdijk site some 18 months after the explosion.

In determining the sentence, the court took into account that Shell did not deliberately cause the explosion and subsequent emissions of harmful substances. "However, a company like Shell can be expected to take measures to prevent major accidents with its available knowledge, expertise and technical resources", the court said. Shell failed to do so on various points, the court ruled. 

Shell director Richard Zwinkels previously agreed in court that the explosion and emissions should have been prevented, but argued that the explosion happened unexpectedly.

Shell has two weeks to appeal against the ruling. 

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