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Huge fire hits Iraq oil refinery

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rossi   Monday, 01/07/08 04:08:42 PM
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Huge fire hits Iraq oil refinery
Baiji refinery
Baiji is Iraq's largest refinery, though it is not a major refiner of petroleum
Reports from Iraq say the country's biggest oil refinery, at Baiji, has been badly damaged in a huge fire.

The fire began with an explosion in the plant's liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) unit which had recently been repaired.

Engineers at the complex, about 180 kilometres (120 miles) north of Baghdad, said a tank was destroyed, but the refinery was still operating.

At least one person was killed and several others were injured. The fire was under control after two hours.

A police official in Baiji blamed the fire on an accident, and not sabotage which has plagued Iraq's oil sector since the US-led invasion nearly five years ago.

Although Iraq has large reserves, it is not a major exporter of refined petroleum. However, the Baiji complex serves as a key transfer point for crude oil being exported from Iraq.

It also refines some crude for domestic consumption.

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