Lion Oil Co. Blames Contractor for Fire at El Dorado Refinery

Lion Oil Co. Blames Contractor for Fire at El Dorado Refinery
Lion Oil Co.'s refinery in El Dorado. (Google Maps)

Lion Oil Co. has blamed a contractor for a fire and explosion at the company’s El Dorado refinery that caused damage and interrupted its business in February 2021.   

The company, based in Brentwood, Tennessee, said it “sustained significant losses and damages,” though it didn’t say how much damage was caused in its lawsuit against Specialty Welding & Turnarounds LLC of Gonzales, Louisiana. The lawsuit also didn’t say how long its business was sidelined. 

Lion Oil said in the suit, filed last month in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Arkansas, that in early 2021 the refinery was undergoing a turnaround, a planned break in production during which significant maintenance was done.

Specialty Welding & Turnarounds, or SWAT, was performing work at the facility when one of its tractor drivers allegedly repeatedly attempted to drive a heavy trailer over a pipe bridge that covered a pipe running across the road. That pipe contained a combustible hydrocarbon. 

“Instead of crossing the pipe bridge, the SWAT tractor driver pushed the pipe bridge and the pipe it was covering forward,” the suit said. “The force disconnected the pipe,” causing the release of hydrocarbon vapor that ignited, starting the fire.

Lion is seeking an unspecified amount for damages. 

SWAT declined to comment on the case. 

Lion is represented by the law firms of PPGMR Law PLLC of Little Rock and Zabel Freeman of Houston. 

Lion Oil has a long history of oil production in El Dorado.

The company sells a range of petroleum products, from several grades of gasoline and ethanol-blended gas to ultra-low sulfur diesel, solvents, propanes and asphalt items, according to the company’s website.