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Mexico’s Pemex says largest refinery shut down due to fire after quake

REUTERS, JUNE 23, 2020

MEXICO CITY – Mexican national oil company Pemex said on Tuesday that its Salina Cruz oil refinery, the country’s largest, was offline after a fire broke out that badly injured at least one worker following a major earthquake that struck nearby.

The fire, which ignited where power generators and a boiler are located, was quickly extinguished, a company spokesperson said, but the facility on the coast of the southern state of Oaxaca has been temporarily shut down as a precaution.

“A small fire broke out and was immediately controlled,” the spokesperson told Reuters.

Two photos posted on the company’s Twitter page showed flames engulfing the corner of the plant and firefighters dousing them with water from several hoses.

At least one worker at the facility who was injured was reported to be in “grave condition,” according to the spokesperson.

Pemex said on Twitter that all other company installations were operating normally.

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of southern Mexico earlier Tuesday morning, killing at least one person, buckling roads and sending people fleeing their homes into the streets. Some buildings elsewhere in Oaxaca state were badly damaged, and fallen rocks could be seen blocking some roadways.

The Salina Cruz refinery, which has been operating below its operating capacity for an extended period of time, holds a total crude oil processing capacity of 330,000 barrels per day.

Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Raul Cortes; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Leslie Adler

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