Oil refinery blaze 'under control' after explosion

An explosion has ripped through the Conoco oil refinery on the Humber estuary, near Grimsby in Britain.

An explosion has ripped through the Conoco oil refinery on the Humber estuary, near Grimsby in Britain.

The fire service says the blast at the South Killingholme refinery involved large quantities of petroleum gas and petrol.

A spokeswoman for Conoco says although the fire is still burning, it is isolated and the situation is under control.

She says surrounding refinery units have been shut down.

"All 199 people who were on site at the time have been accounted for," she said. "One person has been taken to hospital with minor cuts."

The company said no cause has yet been established but an internal inquiry has begun in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive.

Construction of the refinery, near the ports of Immingham and Grimsby, began in 1966 and was completed in 1969 at a cost of £50m. Since then, Conoco has invested millions to enhance efficiency, safety and environmental protection.

Initially, low sulphur crude oil from North Africa provided much of its feedstock, but in 1975, the refinery capitalised on its east coast location when it began processing North Sea oil, which now accounts for nearly all of the refinery's crude feedstock.

Refinery capacity has more than trebled since the plant was built and currently stands at 85 million barrels a year.

Seven ambulances, an air ambulance and more than 50 firefighters were called to the 480-acre site.

Residents said the blast shook building and the fire sent up a pall of thick black smoke which was visible for several miles.

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