Shell Shuts Down Most of Netherlands Refinery — Europe’s Biggest — Due to Fire

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Royal Dutch Shell is shutting down most units at its refinery in Rotterdam, the Netherlands after a fire at a high-voltage electricity switch station.

Explosion bei Shell in den Niederlanden

Shell spokesman Thijs van Velzen says the fire started late Saturday and was extinguished by Sunday morning. Nobody was injured.

The Pernis refinery in Rotterdam’s sprawling port is Europe’s largest. It has the capacity to refine just over 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The shutdown led to Shell burning off excess gases at the plant, a process known as flaring. The move sent large flames into the sky on Sunday.

Van Velzen says the cause of the fire is under investigation. He declined comment on the financial implications of the shutdown.

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Local media in the Netherlands reported that people across a wide area heard blasts and could see flames soaring into the night sky from the 320-hectare (790-acre) chemical plant operated by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell in the town of Moerdijk near the port city of Rotterdam.

Shell spokesman Thijs van Velzen said that two people suffered minor injuries: “All the people that were present are safe,” he said. The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.

Residents told local radio and television that they heard “two powerful bangs” which rocked the area around 10:45 pm (2045 UTC) and that the ground “shook like in an earthquake.” All road and river traffic near the site was suspended.

Dutch public television showed pictures of the flames and large plumes of smoke, which could be seen from Rotterdam, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) away.

The plant manufactures chemicals from petroleum used in products ranging from car components to insulation materials, paints and antifreeze.

The incident was close to the scene of another major fire three years ago at a chemical storage facility.

jm/msh (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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2 Responses to “Shell Shuts Down Most of Netherlands Refinery — Europe’s Biggest — Due to Fire”

  1. Brittius Says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.

  2. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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