Iran’s Petchem Complex to Resume Operation Within Weeks: Minister

Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh is seen at Bu Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan on July 8, 2016. ©SHANA
Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh is seen at Bu Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan on July 8, 2016. ©SHANA

The Iranian minister of petroleum says the country’s Bu Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, which was hit by a raging fire earlier this week, will resume its operation within the next few weeks.

Bijan Zangeneh told reporters early on Saturday that the complex will return to normal condition in two or three weeks, though it will take longer for its paraxylene tower to be repaired and start over regular activities.

He expressed his gratitude to firefighting teams for their efforts to extinguish the blaze at the petrochemical complex, describing the cooling of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), benzene and petroleum naphtha tanks as the most important part of the battle to contain the fire.

He added that personnel from Bu Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex, Shahid Tondgooian Petrochemical Company, Bandar Imam Petrochemical Complex, the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), as well as Khuzestan provincial governor’s office were in action to keep the temperature and pressure at the tanks low.

Iranian firefighters are seen fighting a raging fire at Bu Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex in the country’s southwestern province of Khuzestan on July 8, 2016. ©SHANA
Iranian firefighters are seen fighting a raging fire at Bu Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex in the country’s southwestern province of Khuzestan on July 8, 2016. ©SHANA

Zangeneh further noted that foaming and cooling operations are currently underway in Bu Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex to prevent recurrence of the conflagration.

Firefighters managed to fully contain the blaze at the complex in the early hours of Saturday, almost three days after it erupted due to an explosion in one of its key towers.

It is still not clear what exactly caused the incident, but Zangeneh has ruled out sabotage and said the fire erupted due to technical issues.

There have also been conflicting reports on the number of casualties. Some reports initially said several people had been killed in the incident while others said there had been no casualties.

Mahshahr Special Economic Zone is a key industrial zone on the southern shores of Khuzestan, where a chain of petrochemical plants is situated.

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