Tehran: An accidental blast at Iran`s
Abadan`s oil refinery killed at least one person and injured more than 20 during a visit Tuesday by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was not affected and went on to make a
televised speech, reports said.
"A technical fault led to an explosion in one of the
units of this refinery," Fars news agency said, referring to
the oil facility in the southwestern city of Abadan.
"The fire was immediately controlled... The blast did
not interrupt the president`s programme," Fars added, saying
heavy smoke had clouded the refinery and billowed across the
Mehr news agency initially said one person was killed
in the accident and another 10 injured but in a later report
said 22 people had been "affected" by the blast, without
elaborating on the number of dead or injured.
"Currently the control of the fire and the rescue
operation has been completed and the investigation of the
blast has commenced," Mehr said.
"The leak of gas in one of the refinery`s units has
been announced and is the main cause of the blast and the
fire," it added.
"The spread of poisonous gas has resulted in gas
inhalation and intoxication of some of the employees."
Ahmadinejad was at the refinery to inaugurate a unit
that will elevate the nation`s petrol production capacity by
an extra 4.2 million litres a day.
Iran currently produces 54 million litres of petrol
per day -- below the consumption level of around 50 million
litres a day.
Several accidental explosions were reported last year
in Iranian oil and gas infrastructure, resulting in the
sacking of some local officials accused of negligence.
Last September, up to 10 people were killed in a gas
pipeline explosion near Iran`s northeastern city of Mashhad.
Sixteen others sustained burns.
The main pipeline bringing gas from southern Iran to
Tehran has been sabotaged twice this year already, according
to Iranian media reports.
The acts of sabotage, which have neither have been
claimed nor attributed by authorities to any specific groups,
did not cause any casualties nor disruption to supplies to
Iran, the second largest exporter of crude in the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, holds the
world`s second largest gas reserves.