One dead and five wounded in an oil refinery explosion

One dead and five wounded in an oil refinery explosion

A powerful blast has taken place on Thursday evening in the oil refinery of Ballsh, causing a large scale fire. As a result, one person has lost his life and five others have remained seriously wounded. One of the wounded is fighting for life in hospital. They have sustained severe burns as a result of the fire, while they were on their shift.

Agron Kapllanaj, mayor of Mallakastra, which covers the area where the oil refinery is located, confirmed that the blast happened in unit nr. 3 of the hydro-cleaning where the crude oil undergoes the final cleansing before going into the market.

Kapllanaj said that this “is the unit where PM Edi Rama turned on the tap a few days ago”, referring to the ceremony of inauguration on 4 November.

A group of prosecutors are investigating on suspicions that this may be a case of a breach in the health and safety protocol in the oil refinery of Ballsh.

The blast took place only a few days after the refinery resumed work with maximum capacity and an inauguration ceremony which saw the participation of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

The oil refinery of Ballsh occupies an area of 104 hectares and has a long history since it was built in 1978. The refinery had shut down for more than a year as a result of the company going bust, following a failed privatization by the Azerbaijanis.

The Ballsh refinery is considered to be a strategic asset in the oil industry. Its closure turned into a social wound, leaving thousands of workers from the area without a job.

Recently, this plant was given to a new company.

After resuming work, the plant has started to produce eurodiesel of a European standard, petrol and other derivates. The refinery also generates steam in colossal amounts. /