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Refinery Explosion In Romania Leaves 1 Dead, Five Injured

An explosion rocked early on Friday Romania’s largest oil refinery just outside the Black Sea city of Constanta, killing one person and injuring five others, Romanian officials and authorities say.

The blast occurred early today at the Petromidia refinery, within the hydrorefinement facility (HPM) at the plant, the owner of the refinery, Rompetrol Rafinare, said in a stock exchange filing.

The technological processes at the refinery were safely stopped as per internal crisis management procedures, and emergency crews were working to extinguish the fire, the refinery owner added.

Emergency crew airlifted five people to take them to hospitals for treatment, the Associated Press reports.

It was not immediately clear what was the cause of the explosion.

“The direction of the smoke is in the opposite direction to the beach and the city — which is why the citizens are safe,” Romania’s Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the AP.

The ministry, however, advised people to close their windows as a preventive measure as plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the refinery.

The fire has been now extinguished, local media report. Two of the five injured people had severe burns, the other three sustained minor injuries, according to local authorities.

All other employees have been evacuated, they added.

According to representatives of the refinery, it was unlikely that a human error was the cause of the incident, Romanian outlet Business Review reported. All safety inspections at the refinery were up to date, with the most recent carried out in the spring of last year. 

Authorities are now monitoring the potential environmental fallout from the explosion.

“The smoke is going offshore, and some ... is going to the beach but it’s not populated there,” the head of Romania’s Environmental Guard, Octavian Berceanu, told the AP.

The refinery, Romania’s largest, is close to the Black Sea port and large city of Constanta and to the most popular sea resort in Romania, Mamaia.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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