Fire hits Rompetrol Rafinare Petromidia refinery

Rompetrol Rafinare SA, a subsidiary of Kazakhstan’s state-owned KazMunayGas, is investigating a fire that broke out at a major processing unit of its 5 million-tonne/year Petromidia refinery in Navodari, Romania, on the Black Sea.

The Aug. 22 fire, which killed one worker and left three others injured, occurred at pipeline PM-100-025-80-40H next to valve 100-FV-071 at the refinery’s vacuum distillation unit (VDU) during repair work to eliminate a leak in the unit’s flowline, Rompetrol and KazMunaiGaz said in separate releases.

A preliminary investigation into the incident indicates all equipment was operating within normal parameters and that the workers were executing repairs in accordance with established rules and procedures using a special device for isolating the flowline when a spill of distillate ignited, the companies said.

Contrary to various media reports, official results of the government’s initial investigation into the incident confirm the fire was not preceded by an explosion, according to Rompetrol.

Rompetrol is cooperating with a series of Romanian government agencies on a full-scale investigation into the causes of the fire as well as assessment of material damages to the VDU, which remains shuttered.

While other units at the refinery continue to operate at reduced capacity, Rompetrol’s technical teams currently are evaluating necessary measures required to safely maintain operations on a medium to long-term basis, the company said.

Rompetrol disclosed no details regarding current operating rates at the refinery or an estimated timeframe for when it would determine the extent of damage to impacted installations.

In its midyear report to investors released on Aug. 8, the company said it was planning ongoing investments in projects at the Petromidia refinery this year designed to continue a program of optimization, modernization, and improvement of safety and environmental performance implemented during a major turnaround of the manufacturing site completed in November 2015 (OGJ Online, Dec. 15, 2015).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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