Investigation ongoing into explosion, fire at Pertamina’s Dumai refinery

April 7, 2023
Pertamina is investigating the cause of an Apr. 4 explosion and ensuing fire in the compressor area of subsidiary PT Kilang Pertamina Internasional’s 170,000-b/d refinery sited across two locations in Dumai and Sungai Pakning, Riau, Sumatra.

Indonesia’s state-owned PT Pertamina is investigating the cause of an Apr. 4 explosion and ensuing fire in the compressor area of subsidiary PT Kilang Pertamina Internasional’s (PT KPI) 170,000-b/d refinery sited across two locations in Dumai and Sungai Pakning, Riau, Sumatra.

Preliminary results of the investigation indicate the blast and subsequent fire—which was extinguished within minutes of occurring—was caused by a hydrogen gas leak along a 6-in.-long pipeline in the refinery’s compressor area 212-C-2, the operator said in a series of releases.

Still under further investigation, the incident—which caused vibrations and loud bangs felt within a 1-km radius—impacted the residential area of Tanjung Palas Dumai, or what Pertamina refers to as the buffer zone.

Pertamina said unidentified repairs to the refinery were scheduled to be completed on Apr. 7, with repairs to nearby residential housing slated for completion by Apr. 17.

With ongoing data collection related to the active investigation still under way, Pertamina said it plans to conduct metallurgical laboratory testing on material samples taken from the pipeline to determine whether strength of the pipeline material currently in use remains suitable for service or needs to be replaced.

By May 2023, the operator said it will also carry out reinforcement works on unidentified surrounding equipment and installations, as well as conduct an unidentified review of the buffer zone in July 2023.

In the wake of the incident, Taufik Aditiyawarman, president and director of PT KPI, confirmed the Dumai refinery would continue to operate to ensure fuel supplies for the northern Sumatra region are maintained during the upcoming Ramadhan and Idul Fitri holidays.

“People do not need to worry about fuel suppl[y] shortages,” Aditiyawarman said.

A joint investigation into the incident by Pertamina, Indonesia’s Directorate General of Oil and Gas, and local police is scheduled to continue through April, the operator said.