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Explosion at oilseed processing plant critically injures one

16 April 2024

An explosion at a French oilseed plant left one person with serious injuries on 10 April. The incident happened at a facility operated by Saipol in the port of Sète near Montpellier on France’s southern coast.

Image: Saipol
Image: Saipol

In a statement, Saipol said an explosion occurred at around 16:40 in the esterification unit (production of biodiesel from vegetable oil) while the facility was on technical shutdown for annual maintenance. This led to a fire breaking out that was brought under control by emergency services at around 18:10.

Several investigations are currently being carried out to determine the origin of the fire. Saipol teams are working closely with the authorities to provide the necessary answers, the company said. One Saipol employee was seriously injured and was rushed to hospital. A psychological unit has been set up for employees and subcontractors since and will remain open as long as necessary, Saipol added.

Activity on the site, in particular the resumption of maintenance operations, is expected to be restored soon in agreement with the authorities, Saipol said. The biodiesel production workshop affected by the fire is the subject of an emergency order issued by the prefecture.

Founded in 1983, Saipol is the subsidiary of the Avril group that processes oilseeds (rapeseed and sunflower) into products for human and animal consumption.


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