South Africa – Oil Refinery Explosion Kills Two, Injures Six

A large explosion rocked the Astron Energy refinery at about 4am on Thursday morning [July 2], leaving two people dead and six others injured.

The plant is located in Milnerton and damage is reportedly visible on one of the units closest to the Plattekloof side.
Witnesses told local media that a large explosion rattled windows and doors of nearby houses and that significant damage could be seen at the 100,000 barrel per day Astron Energy refinery.

The South African police service posted several images of the damaged plant on social media.

According to Reuters news agency, the plant was restarting after annual maintenance when the blast occurred.
The maintenance had been extended in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson for Astron said that all production at the plant was stopped and that the fire caused by the blast was contained after a few hours.

Astron Energy Statement
“Astron Energy South Africa can confirm that an incident occurred at its Milnerton Refinery at approximately 4am on July 2, 2020. Astron Energy immediately activated its emergency response procedures and notified the relevant authorities.
The resultant fire has been contained and all work on the plant has been suspended. Our priority is to ensure the safety of all those on-site and further information will provided as soon as we have confirmed the details,” Astron said in a statement.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) confirmed two people died in the explosion.

“Two people (man and woman) were killed and six other injured in an explosion at the Astron Oil Refinery in Milnerton in the early hours of Thursday, July 2, 2020 at approximately 4am.

The cause of the explosion is still the subject of an investigation