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Fire, explosion at Petronas-Aramco refining complex in Malaysia

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A fire and explosion occurred at the Pengerang refining and petrochemicals complex in southern Malaysia, state news agency Bernama reported on Monday, citing the Petronas-Saudi Aramco joint venture that runs the operation.

[KUALA LUMPUR] A fire and explosion at the Pengerang refining and petrochemicals complex in southern Malaysia owned by a Petronas and Saudi Aramco joint venture has killed four, state news agency Bernama reported on Monday, citing authorities.

Another person sustained 70 per cent burns and one person was missing, Pauzan Ahmad, an official with the Johor state fire and rescue department, was quoted as saying by Bernama.

The incident occurred on Sunday night at the diesel hydro treater unit in the Pengerang complex, Mr Pauzan said, adding that the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Petronas directed queries to the joint venture company Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical (PRefChem), which has not responded to a Reuters request for comment.

Bernama cited PRefChem as confirming the fire and saying "the situation is under control".

This is the second fire at the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in less than a year.

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 around 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil once fully operational, is expected to sell fuel to customers in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia.

The PIC also includes a petrochemical complex with annual production capacity of 3.3 million tonnes.

Petronas and Saudi Aramco each have a 50 per cent stake in PRefChem.

REUTERS