Indonesia Refinery Fire
A massive fire raged today at PT Pertamina’s refinery at Balongan in West Java. About 900 people in the surrounding villages have been evacuated. There were reports of five serious injuries due to the fire and some persons missing.
Operations at the refinery have been stopped but the management aims to put out the fire and to restart the refinery, as early as possible, perhaps even in the next few days as they hope to control the fire very soon. The refinery processes 1,25,000 barrels of crude a day with the main product being gasoline.
It was not clear as to what caused the accident, but various news reports said it was due to lightning, although no official statement about the cause has come out yet. The tank farm seems to be where the fire originated. There are more than 70 storage tanks at the site.
Social media was abuzz with the news with a twitter user posting a video of the fire.
Indonesia’s oil refinery on fire pic.twitter.com/G4GZLhhlFt
— penanam anggur (@anthraxxxx) March 29, 2021
Tank Farms storing hydrocarbons need to be designed, operated, maintained and inspected well in order to avoid disasters and unwanted incidents. Many of the world’s large oil and gas disasters took place in tank farms such as Buncefield in the UK and at Jaipur in India.
PT Pertamina News
The company’s official website reports the following.
” President Director of Pertamina, Nicke Widyawati, explained that the incident occurred in the fuel storage tank area. The affected location is about 2 hectares of the total 180 hectares of the Balongan Refinery area.
“As seen earlier, we toured in the field. Other areas are safe, and until this evening, the fire has started to get smaller,” said Nicke.
Nicke added from 72 tanks in the refinery area with a total capacity of 1.35 million Kilo Liter (KL), there were four tanks affected by the incident with a capacity of 100 thousand KL or about 7% of the total storage capacity at the Balongan refinery.
“We will make extra efforts to extinguish the fire,” she explained.
According to Nicke, Pertamina continues to extinguish the fire in the affected areas by pumping seawater to extinguish the hotspots completely. To pump seawater, Pertamina has brought in submersible pump assistance from RU IV Cilacap.
“When the fire is extinguished, we can start up to operate the refinery. Of course, we have to make sure everything is safe,” she added.”
We will update this news once more information becomes available.