Total refinery in Antwerp rocked by fatal blast

Total has shut down part of its refinery in Antwerp, Belgium, after an explosion in a steam pipe, the company said on Tuesday.

The explosion killed two people, both of whom worked for a subcontractor. The blast occurred around 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday during planned maintenance of a gasoline-producing unit.

"We confirm that there has been an explosion on a steam pipe in the refining part of the petrochemical complex," Total said in a statement, adding that “the situation is now under control”.

The company added that the refinery was evacuated and that there was no impact on the environment.

"As a consequence of the explosion, a part of the installations are stopped, and the emergency plan of the refinery has been activated," Total said.

The Antwerp refinery is one of the largest in Europe, with a capacity of 340,000 bpd. The company said earlier this year that it would invest €1 billion in the complex to increase its diesel capacity and cut costs.

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