SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shell is in the process of shutting down its entire 500,000 bbl/day refinery at Pulau Bukom in Singapore and may also close nearby petrochemical units in an attempt to control a fire that has been burning since Wednesday, a company official said on Thursday.
“We…are going through a progressive shutdown of the refinery," Martijn van Koten, vice president for Shell’s manufacturing operations, told reporters at a press briefing.
The shutdown process at the refinery site has been initiated and could take two days to be completed, van Koten said.
Lee Tzu Yang, chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore, added that it had not declared force majeure on any products.
The company’s integrated complex at Bukom has a crude distillation capacity of 500,000 bbl/day. It is Shell's largest refinery in the world in terms of crude distillation capacity.
Shell’s nearby ethylene cracker complex could be forced to shut as attempts are made to control the fire, van Koten said, but declined to comment on a specific timeline.
Shell has already shut some of the production facilities at Bukom, including a hydrocracking unit that makes diesel, as a safety precaution.
The blaze, which started on Wednesday afternoon, involves petroleum products from pipes in the tank farm at the manufacturing facility.
The fire, which may have been started during maintenance work, has damaged a pump room site near the tank farm, according to the company.
“The source of the fire is remnant light fuel components within the specific area where the fire originated. The smoke observed is from hydrocarbons that are not fully combusted,” Shell said in an earlier statement.
However, it is too early too tell what the exact cause of the fire was and extensive investigations will begin once it is extinguished, the company said.
“我们现在很积极的要关闭炼油厂” Martijn van Koten，壳牌制造运营副主席在一个记者简报会上这样通知大家，并说在炼油厂地址的关闭进程已经开始，将耗时2天。
Lee Tzu Yang，壳牌公司新加坡分公司的主席补充说并未对任何产品造成不可抗力。