Shell Singapore refinery fire “extremely regrettable” - van Beurden

30 September 2011 17:27  [Source: ICIS news]

MADRID (ICIS)--Shell Chemical’s executive vice president Ben van Beurden said on Friday that a fire which started at the group’s refinery on Bukom Island in Singapore on Wednesday was “extremely regrettable”.

He added that an investigation is now underway to learn how the fire started in order to avoid it happening again.

Earlier on Friday, a company spokeswoman said that Shell was still in the process of shutting down its refinery on Bukom Island after finally putting out a fire late on Thursday that had burned for more than one-and-a-half days.

Shell said it was in the process of shutting down the entire 500,000 bbl/day refinery and might also close nearby petrochemical units.

“It extremely regrettable that these things happen but rest assured that we will do a very deep analysis of what happened, how this happened and what we can learn from it,” said van Beurden.

“It was a fire that was difficult to tackle for all sorts of specific locational reasons. When the fire occurred we decided to shut down all of the units around it immediately and later the decision was taken to get all of the contractors off the island and focus on fighting the fire and getting things under control,” he added.

“It is now a matter of assessing the damage. It was not a fire in the process units and we will have to see exactly what that means for the logistics on the island and how we will deal with units coming up and coming down,” he said.

Van Beurden added that Shell has also been monitoring the air quality due to the large amounts of smoke that developed from the fire. He said the fumes were not toxic as there were no chemical products involved in the blaze.

The refinery on Bukom is Shell's largest in the world in terms of crude distillation capacity.

Additional reporting by Nurluqman Suratman, Peh Soo Hwee and Yow Pei Lin

For more on Shell visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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