October 10, 2018 / 7:48 AM / 2 months ago

Bosnia oil refinery blast kills one, injures nine

SARAJEVO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - A powerful blast that rocked Bosnia’s oil refinery Brod late on Tuesday has left one worker dead and nine injured, of whom four seriously, officials said on Wednesday.

Firefighters put down the blaze at the plant’s oil and gas processing unit shortly after midnight and rescuers later discovered one body inside the facility, said Brod’s mayor, Ilija Jovicic.

Previous reports said eight people were injured in the blast.

Jovicic said the refinery has continued operating after the incident, adding that an investigation, which was still underway, should establish the cause of the explosion.

The Brod refinery, which processes 1.2 million tonnes of crude a year, is majority owned by Russia’s Neftegazinkor, a unit of state-owned oil company Zarubezhneft.

Auditors have warned that it may face liquidity problems after it piled up losses and its liabilities exceeded assets. The company, however, has dismissed those claims.

Citizens of nearby Slavonski Brod just across the border in Croatia have complained about rising pollution levels from the refinery for years and Bosnian and Croatian authorities have been working to combat this issue.

Air quality measures showed no major spike in pollution levels on Wednesday, Jovicic said. (Reporting by Gordana Katana in Banja Luka and Maja Zuvela in Sarajevo; editing by Louise Heavens)

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