Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Iran: Abadan refinery hit by blast during Ahmadinejad visit

At least one person has been killed and 20 injured during an explosion which ripped through an oil refinery the southern Iranian port city of Abadan. The blast went-off on Tuesday 24th May, while Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on site to inaugurate a new gasoline production unit.

According Fars news agency, the blast was caused by a technical problem. Firefighters were on site almost immediately to get the fire, which resulted from the explosion, under control. Another Iranian news agency, reported that the explosion was caused by a gas leakage in one of the refinery units, and added that a number of refinery employees suffered gas intoxication.

The development plan for the refinery stipulates that it will be producing premium 94 octane gasoline, with production reaching 72 million litres per day by 2012.

Last week, Ahmadinejad sacked three ministers as part of a bigger plan to merge several ministries. The country's Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi was one of the officials removed from office, his post momentarily taken over by the president. In a televised address, Ahmadinejad said: “The Iranian government and Parliament (Majlis) have consensus on the Oil Ministry merger…I am the caretaker for the Oil Ministry.”

Sources: BBC News, AFP, FT, Press TV

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

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