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Production not affected after fire at Iranian petrochemical plant

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows a view of the Kharg Petrochemical Complex in the Persian Gulf.

There were no casualties from a fire that broke out at a storage tank in a petrochemicals plant on Iran's Persian Gulf island of Kharg on Tuesday, the company's spokesman says.

According to the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum's Shana news outlet, the blaze was brought under control and the incident did not affect production.  

"Fortunately, this accident did not cause any casualties and its cause is being investigated," Kharg Petrochemical Company spokesman Mohammad Ali Kazemipour said. "The blaze is now completely contained and we are carrying out cooling operations."  

Petrochemical plants are continuously exposed to the risk of fires and explosion accidents because of the chemical reactions involved in the manufacturing processes and because large amounts of flammable gases and liquids are daily handled and routinely stored.

Last Tuesday, a fire broke out at a petrochemicals plant in Mahshahr in southwestern Iran but it was contained and there were no casualties either.

The governor of Mahshahr said the blaze broke out in a waste depot at a plant in the Petrochemical Special Economic Zone.

The Persian Gulf port city of Mahshahr is the oldest petrochemical hub where one-third of Iran's production capacity using associated gas is based. 

However, fires at Iranian industrial facilities are usually reported with an unprecedented urgency by Western news agencies, especially Reuters which acts as the virtual intelligence arm of the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), reporting every Iranian business activity vulnerable to American sanctions.

Curiously, similar blazes in Israel are rarely or never reported by the mainstream media which often try to somehow link even accidental fires in Iran to Israeli sabotage.

Iran's petrochemical industry, including its largest petrochemical holding group the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) and its network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies, are under US sanctions imposed first in June 2019.

Officials, however, say the wide diversity of petrochemical products and huge international demand for them because of their quality and price make the industry unsanctionable.

Overall petrochemical production is expected to reach worth $50 billion within the next six years when three mixed feed projects for a variety of petrochemical products and 33 projects to meet the needs of downstream industries will come on stream.

Iran's petrochemical revenues will hit a record $20 billion in the current Persian year which ends in March 2022, Managing Director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Behzad Mohammadi said last month.   


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