Wires

UPDATE 1-Fire, explosion at Petronas-Aramco refining complex in Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 (Reuters) - A fire and explosion occurred at the Pengerang refining and petrochemicals complex in southern Malaysia, state news agency Bernama reported on Monday, citing the Petronas-Saudi Aramco joint venture that runs the operation.

The incident occurred on Sunday night and an emergency response team has been activated, Bernama reported.

"The situation is under control," Bernama said, citing a statement. The news agency did not report any injuries or damage.

Petronas directed queries to the joint venture company Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical (PRefChem), which has not responded to a Reuters request for comment.

This is the second fire at the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in less than a year.

In April 2019, an explosion and fire occurred at the plant's atmospheric residue desulphurisation unit (ARDS), a unit that removes sulfur from fuel oil, which is then used to produce gasoline in a residue fluid catalytic cracker.

There were no casualties in the April fire, and Petronas said commercial operations at the refinery would start on time by end-2019. The ARDS has been scheduled for operation by mid-2020, Petronas has said.

The refinery, which will process around 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil once fully operational, is expected to sell fuel to customers in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia.

The PIC also includes a petrochemical complex with annual production capacity of 3.3 million tonnes.

Petronas and Saudi Aramco each have a 50% stake in PRefChem. (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Tom Hogue)