AN explosion at a newly-installed €5.8m (US$6.2m) crude oil heating unit has shut down Ghana’s only oil refinery, according to reports.
The blast at the crude distillation unit of the Tema oil refinery caused no casualties, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources.
'It was a damper failure. It failed to open to allow heat to escape through the chimney and that led to the explosion,' one source said. 'The new furnace is now scrap,' said a union leader who Reuters says declined to be identified.
The union leader said the plant will restart after reconfiguration through a second furnace, but will see output at the 45,000 bbl/d facility fall to 30,000 bbl/d.
The refinery has struggled to produce at capacity due to underinvestment, lack of maintenance and debt, and has had to shut down operations repeatedly as it could not secure crude feedstock. Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo who took power earlier this month has pledged to expand the Tema oil refinery.
As we go to press the Tema oil refinery has not responded to requests for additional information about the explosion.
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