A fire and explosion at a refining and petrochemicals complex in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor left five workers dead, officials said.
Another worker sustained 70 percent burns, Pauzan Ahmad, an official with the Johor state fire and rescue department, said of the March 15 fire.
The incident occurred at the diesel hydro treater unit at Pengerang Refining And Petrochemical (PRefChem) in the Pengerang complex owned by Petronas and Saudi Aramco, Ahmad said, adding the cause of the fire was still under investigation. The Johor state operations center received an emergency call about the fire at 11.20 p.m., Ahmad said.
“Upon arriving at the location, the team found that an explosion and fire occurred at the plant diesel hydrotreater unit which uses hydrogen to remove sulphur waste from raw diesel,” he added.
The next day, Johor Sultan conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims.
“I am very saddened by the incident. May Allah grant strength to the families of the victims,” he told the Royal Press Office.
Sultan Ibrahim also instructed the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department to determine the cause of the fire. “At the same time, I want safety measures at the workplace to always be given priority to prevent accidents,” he said.
This is the second fire in less than a year at the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor.
In April 2019, an explosion and fire occurred at the plant’s atmospheric residue desulphurisation unit (ARDS), a unit that removes sulphur from fuel oil, which is then used to produce gasoline in a residue fluid catalytic cracker.
There were no casualties in the April fire, and Petronas said commercial operations at the refinery would start on time by end-2019. The ARDS has been scheduled for operation by mid-2020, Petronas has said.
The refinery, which will process about 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil once fully operational, sells fuel to customers in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia.
The PIC also includes a petrochemical complex with annual production capacity of 3.3 million metric tons.
Petronas and Saudi Aramco each have a 50 percent stake in PRefChem.