CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Astron Energy’s 100,000 barrel per day refinery in Cape Town was hit by an explosion in the early hours of Thursday, the company said, which a source said had killed at least two people and injured several more before the fire was brought under control.
The fire at South Africa’s third-biggest crude oil refinery started at around 4 a.m. (0200 GMT), said Astron Energy, which is majority owned by commodities trader Glencore.
“The resultant fire has been contained and all work on the plant has been suspended,” said a spokeswoman.
The Milnerton plant, which had been in the process of restarting after undergoing extended maintenance, was shut down after this morning’s fire.
“There are two people dead that I know of, and many injured,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak to the media.
A company spokeswoman said it would release an updated statement later. The fire brigade referred all queries to Astron Energy, and the police did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
The shutdown comes at a tricky time for South Africa as it reopens after its COVID-19-related lockdown. Industry body SAPIA said in May that the country was facing a diesel shortage due to a spike in demand as restrictions on movement eased.
Africa’s most industrialised economy is a net importer of crude and petroleum products.
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Jan Harvey)