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Explosion kills one, injures five at Romania’s largest crude oil refinery

05 July 2021

An explosion and fire at Romania’s largest crude oil refinery killed a worker and injured five others on July 2. The incident occurred at the Petromidia refinery on the Black Sea coast. The company which operates the refinery, Rompetrol Rafinare, said the explosion occurred inside the diesel hydrotreating unit.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

Footage posted on social media showed a large plume of black smoke rising into the sky. The Petromidia refinery is located around 13 miles (20 km) north of the country's biggest port, Constanta.

On its Facebook page, Rompetrol Rafinare said the incident happened at around 16:45 local time and all processes were stopped safely. The company said that four of its employees and a contractor, who had all been in the vicinity of the diesel hydrotreating unit, were injured and taken to hospital. Another worker was confirmed as dead at the scene.

Two of the injured Rompetrol Rafinare employees were placed in medically induced comas and transferred to a specialist hospital in Germany to receive further treatment. The two men, aged 53 and 58, suffered burns to 30% of their bodies.

The other two injured Rompetrol Rafinare employees have been released having suffered minor injuries. The company said that all medical costs would be covered and that they are in direct contact with colleagues and family members.

In further updates posted on Facebook, Rompetrol Rafinare said the diesel hydrotreating unit was isolated and stabilised following the explosion while internal and external teams worked to extinguish a fire. The fire was extinguished after a couple of hours after local firefighters were assisted by military firefighters.

The General Director of Rompetrol Rafinare, Felix Crudu Tesloveanu, thanked local authorities and the emergency services for their swift response. Tesloveanu said the company is doing everything it can to respond in a timely manner to the incident and to enquiries from workers and authorities.

Rompetrol Refinare said a team of specialists has been put together to work with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the incident. At the same time, an analysis of incident’s impact on the refinery’s processes will also be done in order to gain a clearer picture regarding the restart of operations.

The company said that the refinery will continue to provide fuel for Rompetrol stations in Romania and the Black Sea region. It added that monitoring by environmental authorities had found that the limit values had not been exceeded and local areas, including tourist resorts along the coast, were not affected.

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