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Oil refinery explosion in South Africa kills two, injures six

02 July 2020

An explosion at an oil refinery in Cape Town, South Africa killed two people and injured six others on July 2. The blast happened in the early hours of the morning and caused a fire to break out at the plant which is operated by a Glencore subsidiary.

Image: South Africa Police Service
Image: South Africa Police Service

Witnesses told local media that a large explosion rattled windows and doors of nearby houses and that significant damage could be seen at the 100,000 barrel per day Astron Energy refinery. The South African police service posted several images of the damaged plant on social media.

According to Reuters news agency, the plant was restarting after annual maintenance when the blast occurred. The maintenance had been extended in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson for Astron said that all production at the plant was stopped and that the fire caused by the blast was contained after a few hours. 

An investigation into the cause of the blast has been opened.

Glencore purchased a 75% stake in Astron Energy in 2019. The Cape Town refinery was previously owned by Chevron.


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