Companies owned by BP, Shell and Total were fined a total of £5.35m for their involvement in the Buncefield oil storage depot explosion and fire the worst of its kind since the second world war.

The explosion at the depot in Hertfordshire in the south of England nearly five years ago, which registered 2.4 on the Richter scale, injured scores of people and caused structural damage across a wide area.

Total UK, which operated the depot, was fined £3.6m, plus another £2.6m in costs by the crown court court in St Albans. Hertfordshire Oil Storage Limited (HOSL), which is 60%-owned by French energy giant Total and 40% by Chevron, was hit with a fine of £1.45m and another £1m in costs.

The British Pipeline Agency (BPA), owned 50-50 by BP and Shell, received a fine of £300,000 plus £480,000 costs. There were also fines of £1,000 each for two engineering companies, Motherwell Control Systems and TAV Engineering. When costs are included, the total bill for the five companies comes to £9.43m.