Argentina’s YPF suspends refinery operations after blaze

03 April 2013 18:43  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Argentina’s Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF) said on Wednesday that it has temporarily suspended operations at the country’s largest oil refinery after a fire broke out at the plant on Tuesday night.

YPF said the blaze at its 188,000 bbl/day La Plata refinery in Buenos Aires province had been contained, although it wasn’t immediately clear if the fire had been extinguished.

There were no casualties, the company said.

“Refinery activity has temporarily been stopped for safety reason,” YPF said in a statement. “In due course YPF will put it into place a special plan to restart operations at the industrial plant.”

According to YPF, the fire started at a coke furnace and a distillation unit around 20:00 hours local time (00:00 hours GMT) after flooding caused by heavy storms cut electrical supply to the refinery.

The fire was contained by YPF personnel and firefighters at around 04:00 hours local time. Technical personnel were continuing to monitor the situation until the risk of further flooding dissipates, the company said.

The La Plata refinery accounts for 30% of Argentina’s refining capacity.

YPF was nationalised in May 2012 by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government in an effort to reinvigorate a domestic industry marred by a decade of production stagnation.

The company recently said it aims to boost oil and natural gas production by 32% by the end of 2017.

By: Simon West

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