Petroplus reports Coryton refinery fire, shutdown

Fire-fighters have brought under control a fire that broke out following an explosion Oct. 31 at Petroplus's 172,000 b/d Coryton refinery in Essex in southern England.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Nov. 1 -- Fire-fighters have brought under control a fire that broke out following an explosion Oct. 31 at Petroplus's 172,000 b/d Coryton refinery in Essex in southern England. The Swiss oil refiner said the fire occurred in one of the refinery units, and it has shut down several processing units as a precautionary measure.

The cause of the fire has yet to be confirmed. Witnesses described flames 100 ft high after the reported blast late in the morning. Emergency services said there were no casualties and no evacuations of residents living nearby.

"Refinery and local emergency response teams responded to the incident, and the situation is now under control," Petroplus said, adding that there was no environmental risk associated with the incident. Seventeen fire-fighters used flame retardant foam and cooling equipment to prevent further damage and to manage the blaze.

It remains unclear how long Coryton refinery will be shut down or the effect this will have on petrol prices in the UK. Industry commentators are expecting prices to reach more than £1/l.

Petroplus bought the refinery from BP PLC in February (OGJ Online, Feb. 1, 2007).

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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