Explosion and fire at Petromidia Refinery in Năvodari, several injured, one dead

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An explosion occurred on Friday at the Petromidia Refinery in Năvodari. From the first information, four people were injured and one worker dead.

The red intervention plan was activated and an RO-Alert message was issued.

People are burned in the face. We will do a reassessment. RO-Alert message was sent. Tourists are not affected. The crews are there,” said Constanța prefect, Silviu Coșa.

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The Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (ISU) announced that the explosion was followed by fire. To manage the incident, 8 fire trucks, 2 SMURD ambulances and a mobile intensive care unit were sent to the scene.

The impact on the environment can be major, said Environment Minister Tanczos Barna, in his turn. From the first assessments, the cloud of smoke is moving towards the sea, not towards the shore, the minister added. He said there was a mobile laboratory on site to monitor air quality.

Interior Minister Lucian Bode and DSU chief Raed Arafat went to the scene. A safety perimeter has been delimited in the area, as the danger of explosion and fire is high.

Rompetrol Refinery Director General Felix Crudu-Tesloveanu said on Friday that the fire at Petromidia started at the gasoline hydrofining installation and the ensuing blast generated three more outbreaks, with the probable cause being a cracked pipe.

He said that the fire broke out on a platform where there is various industrial equipment and where five people were working. Four of them were injured and one was found dead.

“Unfortunately, a fire broke out at the gasoline hydrofining installation at around 12:30hrs, as we were informed by the dispatcher. The flame and the ensuing blast generated three more outbreaks. Unfortunately, one of the workers operating in the area was caught by the blast. During the intervention, desperate efforts were made to find him, and the responders went in dressed up special fire protection equipment (…) He was outside on a platform where there is various industrial equipment. (…) There were five people in the area at the time, all five were injured, two slightly injured, one medium and a severely,” Crudu-Tesloveanu said.

According to him, after the fire broke out, all the installations were stopped, according to emergency instructions.

“At first sight, but we will investigate with the authorities and experts, it was a pipe that cracked, we do not know details, a flame appeared in the area (…), it ignites immediately, very high temperatures. (… ) We acted (…), when there are such instances we act according to a contingency plan, all the installations are stopped, all the air vents are opened, they are depressurized, all the fire extinguishing lines are opened, there are specific measures. As soon as the fire started, the control room and the operators from that respective installation took action according to the working instructions for emergencies. So everything stops,” said the Rompetrol Refinery official.

He also said that the families of the deceased and the injured were immediately notified, and they will be provided with all the the necessary support. Appropriate medical treatment will also be provided to the injured, even abroad if necessary.

Petromidia is currently the largest refinery in Romania. The refinery is operated by Rompetrol Rafinare. The company is owned by KMG International (54.63%; directly and indirectly) and by the Romanian state through the Ministry of Energy (44.69%).

Rompetrol is the main brand of KMG International, a group owned by KazMunayGas, the national oil and gas company in Kazakhstan. At Petromidia, 4.8 million tons of raw materials were processed last year (1.16 million tons of gasoline and over 2.6 million tons of diesel and aviation fuel).

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