Shell says fire at Singapore refinery has been put out
Sep 30, 2011, 10:58 GMT
Singapore - Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell plc said Friday a fire at its largest refinery worldwide - in Singapore - has been put out, ending a 35-hour battle against the blaze.
The fire at the Pulau Bukom island site, 5.5 kilometres south-west of Singapore's main island, started Wednesday afternoon. There were no major injuries reported.
'The fire has been extinguished,' Shell said in a statement. 'However, there are traces of fuel vapour.'
Singapore's Civil Defence Force said the fire had been extinguished at 9:18 pm local time (1318 GMT) on Thursday.
About 100 firefighters remained on the island, it said.
Shell said it was 'prepared to shut down all refinery units if this is considered necessary from a safety perspective, with the exception of utilities.'
As a precautionary measure, units within the vicinity of the fire have already been shut down, the company said.
However, Shell gave no details on the shutdown operations and did not say when it expected its refinery, which is a key supplier for the region and beyond, to run normally again.
Shell's regional vice president for manufacturing operations, Martijn van Koten, said Shell was 'working with customers to mitigate the impact' of the incident, but did not elaborate.
With a crude distillation capacity of 500,000 barrels per day, the Bukom site is Shell's biggest refinery globally, according to the company website. About 90 per cent of its production is exported.
Shell said the affected area has lengths of pipelines and connected pumps, and holds a mix of hydrocarbons.
'This was the reason for the erratic fire, sometimes waning and sometimes growing,' it said.
Van Koten said it was too early to say why the fire started.
The cause might have to do with a 'maintenance job,' he said Thursday.