Petromidia

The blaze was eventually 'stabilized', officials said
A powerful blast at Romania′s biggest oil refinery on Friday has killed one person and left at least four other workers injured.

Around 50 firefighters were deployed to the scene after the explosion rocked the Navodari Petromidia refinery on the Black Sea coast.

The refinery's operations "have been stopped as a security measure," said the Kazakh KazMunayGas (KMG) group that owns the oil processing site.

What do we know so far?

Video footage taken by a tourist showed thick black smoke billowing from the refinery, which is located 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Mamaia, Romania′s top tourism resort.

Operator Romeptrol Rafinare said that "technological processes in the refinery were safely stopped" and the blaze was later ″isolated and stabilized.″

"Internal and external teams are making efforts to put it out in the shortest time,'' the company reported on social media.

Refinery's owners KMG and the Romanian government have been engaged in legal disputes over the plant

Authorities are still not sure what caused the blast.

How has it affected the nearby area?

The wind was taking the plume of smoke towards the Black Sea.

"The direction of the smoke is in the opposite direction to the beach and the city which is why the citizens are safe,'' the country′s Interior Ministry said in a statement. ″However, we ask the population to take protectionary measures by closing (their) windows.″

Head of Romania′s Environmental Guard, Octavian Berceanu, told the Associated Press news agency that ″proper data″ was still not available to find out its impact on the wildlife.

"The smoke is going offshore, and some is going to the beach but it's not populated there,'' said Octavian Berceanu, who lead the government′s environmental agency.

Previous refinery fires in Indonesia and South Africa have prompted evacuation and injury.

Why was the refinery controversial?

The Petromidia refinery has been the subject of disputes since the start of the 2000s between owners KMG and the Romanian government.

Authorities started investigating the refinery on fraud, tax evasion and money laundering charges in 2006.

As part of this investigation, prosecutors seized the Petromidia plant in 2016, although the investigation was later dropped in 2019.

Romania as a whole has had a number of climate issues of late, with rising pollution being one of the main issues the East European country faces.

Watch video 26:06 The Expanding Desert - Climate Change in Romania


Comment: This happened on the 2nd of July, and 3 days later a blast occurred at a chemical plant in Thailand, also reported by Deutsche Welle below:


Bangkok chemical plant fire

Smoke rising from the factory fire near Bangkok
An explosion in a chemical factory close to the Thai capital, Bangkok, left at least 33 people injured and one dead on Monday.

Several of those injured were involved in firefighting and rescue efforts, local media said.

The incident took place in Bang Phli district in the Samut Prakan province and caused extensive damage to surrounding buildings, including in nearby residential areas as far as 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away.

The Ming Dih factory, close to the Suvarnabhumi airport, produces plastic pellets. The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning, with clouds of black smoke still emanating from the site late in the afternoon, some reaching Bangkok itself.

"At first it felt like lightning. After that, I heard something drop loudly, and for a while, the house started shaking like there was an earthquake," local resident Baitong Nisarat told Reuters.

How did authorities respond?

More than 30 fire engines, as well as helicopters, were deployed, the Bangkok Post reported. Firefighters were seen making their way through the wreckage to get closer to the flames.

Fearing further explosions, Thai authorities evacuated people in a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius. Some 50 metric tons of chemicals are stored in five or six warehouses in the same factory compound, according to the newspaper report.

Officials said styrene monomer, a liquid chemical used to produce disposable foam plates, cups and other items, was one of the main substances housed at the site. It can emit poisonous fumes when ignited.

A school and a government office were set up as evacuation centers as rescue workers continued to search for survivors.

Firefighters said they had the blaze under control, but gave no word on the origin of the explosion.

The Ming Dih Group Corporation that owns the factory is based in Taiwan.