31 March 2012

Update on fire at Shell's Bukom refinery

It appears there WAS a fire at the Shell Bukom refinery on 26 Mar which forced the plant to be shut down for a few hours, and one of three Crude Distillation Units (CDUs) to be down a day after. Shell says "the flame and smoke that you see are from the refinery’s flare system".
Photo by Straits Times, Lau Fook Kong.
But according to Reuters: "A momentary trip in electricity supply to the plant, called a power dip, triggered a fire in one of the smaller secondary cracking units, part of its 33,000-bpd Long Residue Catalytic Cracker (LRCC) complex."


"The fire, which occurred at one of the flanges of the secondary unit and put out shortly after, forced the shut down of the plant's three CDUs.

Two were restarted by the end of Monday, and the third is expected to be restarted in a day or two. "The third CDU is still down because it is connected to the unit where the fire occurred, and investigations are going on to find out exactly why the flange caught fire," one of the sources said.

"Compared to the fire in September, this outage is small, despite the necessity of shutting the plant down. There should not be any disruptions to Shell's supplies as they would have enough buffer to cover the shutdown."

Shell describe the incident as flaring on their website

"Flaring on 26 March 2012: The flare system and fire alarm were activated at the Pulau Bukom Manufacturing Site this morning. A disruption at one of the units activated the fire alarm. The incident was quickly resolved with internal resources. The flame and smoke that you see are from the refinery’s flare system. Flaring occurs during scheduled maintenance activities or a result of unplanned operational interruptions. Flaring acts as a “safety relief valve” to allow combustible gases to be safely burnt and released as water and carbon dioxide, which are not hazardous. There is no risk to the health and safety of the staff or public."

See also "Another fire at Shell's Bukom refinery?"

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