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Canada’s Largest Refinery Rocked By Explosion

Irving

Canada’s largest refinery will discuss its plans “for returning to full turnaround mode” later this evening, Irving Oil announced late on Tuesday morning.

Irving’s Saint John refinery—Canada’s largest—was rocked by an explosion yesterday in what Irving referring to as “a major incident”. The incident led to no serious injuries among the facility’s personnel, the company said, as quoted by MarketWatch, and the incident area has been “isolated and contained.”

The Saint John refinery has a daily capacity of 320,000 bpd of crude oil, which makes it the largest such facility in Canada. Eyewitness reports detailed a shattering explosion at the refinery yesterday followed by a massive fire. Four employees at the refinery were injured and sent to the hospital, but none of the injuries were life-threatening.

In what has now become something of a standard social media practice in the business world, the company took to Twitter to confirm the reports of the incident and share updates as the situation developed.

"Very unfortunate event, but also fortunately a very rare event for us as a company and we will continue to focus on understanding what went wrong and we apply those lessons every single day that we go to work to try to maximize the safety of our operations and ultimately our employees and communities," CBC quoted Kevin Scott, chief refining and supply officer of Irving Oil.

The news about no casualties or serious injuries is certainly good given the number of people present on the site at the time of the explosion, which an Irving Oil official put at close to 3,000 as the refinery undergoes planned maintenance. All personnel have been accounted for.

According to early reports, a likely cause of the blast could be a malfunction in a unit at the refinery that removes sulfur from diesel. This unit has now been isolated while the company works with relevant government agencies to determine the cause of the explosion. The rest of the refinery has been shut down as a precaution.

There has been one previous explosion at the Irving Oil facility, in 1998, when one person was killed and two were injured.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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