Two Dead in Belgian Refinery Blast

Two Dead in Belgian Refinery Blast

"We regret two fatalities," Total said in a statement. The French company released no information about the fatalities other than to say the victims were each employees of a subcontractor.

BRUSSELS -- Two people died today in an explosion at a refinery in the Belgian city of Antwerp, oil giant Total (IW 1000/9) said.

"We regret two fatalities," the company said in a statement.

An earlier company statement said one person had died and two were missing. The second release made no reference to any more missing.

The French company released no information about the fatalities other than to say the victims were each employees of a subcontractor.

Midafternoon Explosion

The explosion occurred at about 1400 GMT on the premises of Total Raffinaderij in Antwerp, the company said.

It is Total's biggest refinery and the third largest in Europe, turning 17 million tons of crude oil each year into petrol, diesel and kerosene.

A company spokesman said the explosion stemmed from a problem in Total'ss steam-pipe system, and the company statement says operations in this area of the site have ground to a halt.

"The refinery is evacuated," the statement reads. "At this moment, the installations involved are being secured."

Managers stressed that there was "no impact for the environment."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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