Posted on: January 9, 2009 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

South Africa. A series of small explosions at Sasol’s Germiston solvents plant has seen the temporary closure of the facility.

The blast happened after a chemical solvents tanker caught fire in the plant’s loading bay at about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jacqui O’Sullivan, company spokeswoman said.t A fire started on the road tanker and then spread to the vehicle’s own fuel supply which exploded.

Sasol shares dropped as much as 5.3 percent in trading on the Johannesburg stock exchange.

A blackened loading bay, white extinguisher foam and a slightly tarnished tanker bore evidence to the fire. One person was injured and the cause of the explosion is being investigated.

“We don’t know what caused the fire. There were four tankers involved. Three were busy offloading chemicals and one was being loaded when one of the tankers caught alight, and it spread to the other tankers.”O’Sullivan said.

The fire was put out by emergency services workers within 30 minutes.

The plant produces solvents such as butanol, methanol and ethanol. The company’s customers are unlikely to be affected by the shutdown as supplies will continue to supply from our operations in Durban.

The plant will remain closed for investigations and safety reasons. O’Sullivan that while the cause of the fire was not yet known, investigations thus far had determined that there was no evidence of an actual chemical explosion.

Sources: Various