Fire at Singpore refinery extinguished after two days

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell Plc said a fire at its largest refinery worldwide in Singapore has been put out, ending a 35-hour battle against the blaze.

The fire at the Pulau Bukom island site, 5.5 kilometres south-west of Singapore’s main island, started on Wednesday afternoon. There were no major injuries reported.

“The fire has been extinguished,” Shell said in a statement issued last night. “However, there are traces of fuel vapour.”

Shell said it was “prepared to shut down all refinery units if this is considered necessary from a safety perspective, with the exception of utilities.”

As a precautionary measure, units within the vicinity of the fire have already been shut down, the company said.

With a crude distillation capacity of 500,000 barrels per day, the Bukom site is Shell’s biggest refinery globally, according to the company website. About 90 percent of its production is exported.

Shell said the affected area has lengths of pipelines and connected pumps, and holds a mix of hydrocarbons.

“This was the reason for the erratic fire, sometimes waning and sometimes growing,” it said.

Shell’s regional vice-president for manufacturing operations, Martijn van Koten, said it was too early to say why the fire started.

The cause might have to do with a “maintenance job”, he told a press conference earlier yesterday.

Van Koten said Shell was “working with customers to mitigate the impact” of the incident, but he did not elaborate.

– dpa