An explosion on a pipeline linking Ghana’s 45,000 barrel-per-day Tema Oil Refinery in an industrial hub near the capital Accra to a nearby port has been reported. The 5 km (3 mile) stretch of pipeline was transporting naphtha, primarily used as a feedstock for producing gasoline, when it began to leak around midday. Passersby had begun collecting the highly flammable liquid, when a sudden fire broke out.
The fire sent a column of dense black smoke billowing hundreds of metres into the sky above Tema, around 20 km (12 miles) east of Accra.
The fire was brought under control in around three hours and output from the refinery would not be disrupted.
The fire also damaged part of Cocoa Processing Company’s nearby factory forcing it to shut down. The facility has capacity to process 64,500 tonnes of cocoa beans annually.
The refinery has been hobbled by repeated shutdowns over the last few years, but was close to signing a joint venture agreement with PetroSaudi International. The refinery’s managing director was in London at the time of the accident as part of a delegation meeting with PetroSaudi to conclude the deal.