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Big explosion at oil refinery in st. john, new brunswick
An explosion has been confirmed at Canada's largest oil refinery, which is a critical source of fuel for the northeast United States. Irving Oil confirmed on Oct. 8 that a "major incident" took place at its refinery in St. John, New Brunswick. "We can confirm that a major incident has occurred at our Saint John refinery this morning. We are actively assessing the situation at this time and will share more information when available," the company said in a statement. 'Bed-Shaking Explosion' Several pictures circulating on social media websites show flames and smoke at the refinery. A source told S&P Global Platts that the fire was in the hydrogen unit. "Several sources said the plant had been in turnaround, with one adding that the CDU, RFCC, and gasoline desulfurization units were shut October 1," the outlet reported. Witnesses and people who live nearby described a huge explosion to The Province, with one person describing a "bed-shaking explosion" around 10:15 a.m. local time. Michael Steeves said that he was driving nearby when he saw the fire and thick, black smoke. Hundreds of locals had gathered to watch from a distance. “From where I was, you could see flames — I would expect they were about a hundred feet in the air — and you’ve got a huge plume of black smoke,” Steeves said. Huge Refinery The refinery in St. John is the largest in Canada, producing over 320,000 barrels of finished energy products including gasoline, diesel, and heating oil, according to Irving Oil. Over half of the produced barrels are exported to the northeast United States. The site spans 780 acres and employs over 1,400 people. It opened in 1960. Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service, told CNBC that the United States is very important to the American market. "We probably import more gasoline from that single refinery than any other single refinery around the world," he said.