PetroChina oil tank in East Java explodes

PetroChina oil tank in East Java explodes

An oil tank at Lengowangi I well at PetroChina`s oil and gas drilling site in Gresik district exploded Wednesday morning breaking the glass windows of some houses situated hundreds of meters from the location of the accident, eyewitnesses said.

The eyewitnesses who resided at the Gresik Kota Baru housing complex said the big explosion which occurred at 9 a.m. could be heard within a radius of 500 meters.

PetroChina spokesman Bambang Sila Sakti confirmed the accident but could not describe it in detail. Gresik police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Fiandar also confirmed the accident but could not say whether any people had been hurt.

On January 20, 2004 two people were killed and at least 54 others injured when an explosion ripped through a chemical factory near Gresik, a suburb of Surabaya, in what appeared to be an accident, officials said.

Hundreds of people in nearby villages fled their homes after the blast out of fear for chemical contamination and the spreading of a fire which engulfed the sprawling complex.

At least 54 people, most of them workers at the factory owned by PT Petro Widada which makes chemicals used in plastics, were injured in the fire that followed the blast.

Gresik, about 675 km (420 miles) east of Jakarta, is a densely populated town and home to dozens of factories.(*)

Copyright © 2006 ANTARA

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