Rocket hits small oil refinery in Iraq's north, forcing shutdown - officials

by Reuters
Sunday, 29 November 2020 18:10 GMT

(Adds halting operations, quote, details)

By Ghazwan Hassan

TIKRIT, Iraq, Nov 29 (Reuters) - A rocket hit a small oil refinery in northern Iraq on Sunday, causing a fire at a fuel storage tank and forcing a complete shutdown of operations after the blaze spread to a nearby pipeline network, two refinery officials said.

A spokesman for the state-run Northern Refineries Co, which manages a number of Iraqi refineries, earlier told Iraq's state news agency that two rockets had hit the Siniya refinery, causing a fire that it said had been controlled.

Officials said halting operations at the Siniya refinery, which has refining capacity of 30,000 barrels per day, was a safety measure to prevent further damage.

"We completely shut down production units to avoid extensive damage that could result," a chief engineer at the refinery said on condition of anonymity.

Firefighters are still trying to contain the fire, refinery and local officials said.

There were no reports of casualties at the facility, which is near Iraq's largest oil refinery of Baiji in the Northern Salahuddin province. (Reporting Ghazwan Hassan in Tikrit and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; Writing by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Alexander Smith and Jan Harvey)

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