Explosion at South African Refinery Injures 11

Reuters, May 22, 2017

A blast on Monday at South Africa's Natref oil refinery injured 11 people and forced the shutdown of operations close to the 108,000 bpd facility, but production at the main refinery continued, Sasol said. Sasol reported on its website that the explosion happened at about 0545 GMT at the country's only inland refinery, a venture between the petrochemicals group Sasol and a South African unit of France's Total.

"Operating units in the vicinity of the hydrogen compressors have been shut down," Sasol spokesman Alex Anderson said in an emailed statement, adding that the refining facility continued.

He said investigations into the cause and impact were ongoing, but the fire had to be extinguished before a full assessment of the damage could be made. Sasol's shares were largely stable at 409.89 rand by 0940 GMT.

Total officials referred requests for comment to Sasol. The government's Central Energy Fund did not respond to requests for comment.

Africa's most advanced economy consumes about 400,000 barrels of oil per day.

Sasol describes the refinery as a medium-sized, technologically advanced plant.


(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and James Macharia; Editing by David Clarke and Edmund Blair)

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