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Fire at Shell Singapore refinery contained

Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:31am EDT

By Yaw Yan Chong and Francis Kan

(Reuters) – A fire at Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDSa.L) petroleum complex offshore Singapore is still burning but has been contained, although it was not clear what impact the blaze was having on operations.

“We confirm that a fire in the Pulau Bukom Manufacturing Site occurred today at approximately 1.15pm. Emergency responders are on the scene and the fire is contained. No injuries have been reported and the rest of the site’s operations are unaffected,” a Shell spokesman said.

A spokesman for the Singapore Civil Defence Force confirmed that the fire was under control, with no reported injuries.

Shell did not give any details on what operations have been affected. The complex, situated on the island of Pulau Bukom, comprises a 500,000 barrels-per-day refinery and an 800,000 tonnes-per-year cracker.

A source told Reuters that the fire was at a pump connected to a secondary unit that produces naphtha, but could not give further details.

“There’s a leak at the unit, and efforts are being made to find and stop the leak. In the meantime, the fire has been contained, but it can only be put out after the leak is plugged,” the source said.

“The oil flow could not be shut to stop the fire, because that would affect the rest of the production process. So the best thing to do is to contain the fire, which has been done, and then to find the leak.”

A person familiar with the refinery set-up said that a naphtha pump could refer to a unit that transfers the light fuel into a hydrotreater before it is reformed into gasoline.

Another source said cargo-loading and survey operations at the refinery had been stopped following the fire.

Industry sources said such operations are usually stopped when incidents, such as fires, occur.

(Additonal reporting by Seng Li Peng; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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