Petrobras fuel tank explodes in Brazil, killing two

miércoles 26 de agosto de 2015 16:42 GYT

* Blast is 3rd fatal 2015 Petrobras mishap in Espirito Santo state

* Fire at miner Vale's Port of Tubarão quickly controlled

RIO DE JANEIRO Aug 26 (Reuters) - A heating unit at a Petrobras depot in Brazil used to treat fuel for ocean-going ships exploded on Wednesday, killing two workers, the state-run oil company said in a statement.

The blast and resulting fire broke out about 10 a.m. (1300 GMT) while workers were doing planned maintenance on the heating unit, said the press office of BR Distribuidora SA, the fuels distribution unit of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known.

The heating unit is used to raise the temperature and reduce the viscosity of bunker fuel, a heavy, sludgy refined petroleum product similar to heating oil. Heating the fuel makes it easier to load aboard ships.

The fire at the naval-fuels depot at the Port of Tubarão near Vitória, Brazil, was brought under control by on-site firefighters and presents no immediate risk to anyone in the vicinity, BR Distribuidora said in a statement. The names of the dead workers were not immediately available, it said.

The fire is the third fatal accident this year at facilities owned by or operated on behalf of Petrobras in Brazil's Espirito Santo state, the country's second-highest oil and natural gas producer after neighbor Rio de Janeiro. Combined, the accidents have killed 13 and injured at least 26.

The accident comes just over a week after the board of Petrobras approved a plan for an initial public offering of up to 25 percent of the stock in BR Distribuidora, Brazil's largest service-station operator and fuels distributor.

The vote to approve the sale was opposed by Chairman of the Board Murilo Ferreira, who said the company needed to improve its management before a sale could be set.   Continuación...