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Explosion at Petronas-Aramco refinery in Malaysia kills five

16 March 2020

An explosion and fire at the Pengerang refining complex in Malaysia on March 15 has killed five people. The blast occurred at the plant’s diesel hydrotreater unit, which uses hydrogen to remove sulphur waste from raw diesel.

Pengerang Integrated Complex - Image: Wikimedia
Pengerang Integrated Complex - Image: Wikimedia

The Pengerang Integrated Complex, located near Kota Tinggi in the southern state of Johor, processes around 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day and has a yearly capacity of around 3.3 million tonnes.

The Johor state Fire and Rescue Department said that after responding to an emergency call, its team arrived at the site to find a significant fire. Five people were killed, one person was severely injured having suffered severe burns, and one other was able to escape unharmed. 

An investigation into the explosion is underway. The refinery’s owner, Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical (PRefChem), said in a statement that it was working closely with authorities before adding that the fire was now under control.

PRefChem is a strategic alliance of Malaysia’s national oil company, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), and Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. 

The blast is the second incident at the Pengerang Integrated Complex in less than a year. In April 2019, two staff members were injured in an explosion and fire at the plant's atmospheric residue desulphurisation unit.

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