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Fire and explosion forces South Africa’s second largest refinery to shutdown

07 December 2020

An explosion and fire at the 120,000 barrel per day refinery operated by Engen in Durban forced operations to shutdown on December 4. Nobody is reported to have been injured in the incident at South Africa’s second largest refinery.

Image: Engen
Image: Engen

In a statement, Engen said that an explosion and subsequent fire occurred at approximately 07:10 local time at the refinery in Wentworth, Durban. A nearby block of apartments also caught fire as a result of the blast. Engen’s emergency response team and local emergency services responded to the incident and successfully extinguished the fire by around 08:45. 

An investigation has been opened to find the exact cause of the incident. Engen said that all relevant authorities have been informed and full cooperation has been provided. An update will be provided as soon as further information is available, the company added. Engen is majority owned by Malaysia’s Petronas and said safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of its people, community and environment remains its utmost priority.

An explosion at the plant in 2008 also forced operations to shutdown. On that occasion, the refinery remained closed for four months.

More recently, an explosion at the 100,000 barrel per day Astron Energy refinery in Cape Town in July 2020 killed two people and injured six others. 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.


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