Oil processing at Russia’s Saratov oil refinery, owned by Anglo-Russian company TNK-BP, was suspended on Thursday after it caught fire, TNK-BP said.
It’s not clear when the refinery, which normally produces 130,000 barrels per day of refined products, will resume production after the fire which struck at about 1100 GMT.
Five workers were injured, and one of them is in a serious condition, the local office of the Emergencies Ministry said. It added that the fire had been localised.
“Oil processing has been temporarily suspended. The cause of fire and damage are being investigated, ” TNK-BP press service said, citing the plant’s director general Konstantin Gusarov.
Saratov refinery, 850 km (600 miles) southeast of Moscow and built in 1934,is the third-largest refinery owned by TNK-BP and is of strategic importance for exports. A local news agency posted a video showing fire and black smoke rising from a refinery unit. It said that the fire hit a visbreaker, part of a crude distillation unit, with a capacity of 800,000 tonnes of tar a year. Saratov refinery produced 4.6 million tonnes of oil products in January-August including 1.3 million tonnes of fuel oil, 942,300 tonnes of diesel and 668,800 tonnes of gasoline, according to Energy Ministry data. About 1.721 million tonnes were exported, mainly by sea but also overland to Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. Exporting items included fuel oil, heating oil and gas oil.
Russian refineries, build mostly between the 1940s and the 1970s, have been undergoing large-scale modernisation amid government efforts to improve quality of the domestic fuel.
CRS says that as a part of any workplace modifications, fire and health and safety should be properly included and budgeted in the improvement plans.