NEA closely monitoring air quality in Singapore after explosion at Johor oil and gas facility

NEA closely monitoring air quality in Singapore after explosion at Johor oil and gas facility

pengerang fire
The incident took place on Apr 12, 2019, in the early hours of the morning. (Screengrab: Bernama)

SINGAPORE: The 24-hour PSI levels in Singapore remained in the low-moderate range, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said, after an explosion at the Petronas oil and gas facility in Johor on Friday (Apr 12) left two injured.

The blast at the Pengerang Integrated Complex happened around 1.25am, Petronas confirmed in a statement on Twitter.

It added on Friday afternoon that the fire had occurred at the facility's Atmospheric Residue Desulphurisation (ARDS) unit, which was currently under the commissioning stage.

"Teams have been set up and are currently working closely with the relevant authorities to investigate the cause of the incident," Petronas said in their statement.

"We wish to assure members of the public that the situation is under control and there is no health-related risk to this incident."

The explosion left two Malaysian security guards with minor injuries, emergency services said on Friday morning.

READ: Death toll from China pesticide plant blast rises to 78

pengerang blast
Footage circulating on social media showed a giant ball of fire at the facility, with thick plumes of smoke rising. (Photo: Bernama)

Footage circulating on social media showed a giant ball of fire at the facility, with thick plumes of smoke rising from the blaze. 

In response to the incident, NEA said that it was "closely monitoring the situation as well as the air quality in Singapore".

"The ambient levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) along Singapore’s coast remain within safe levels," it said.

It added that the 24-hour PSI levels in Singapore since 1am on Friday have been in the low-moderate range, while the the 1-hour PM2.5 readings was in the Normal band. 

"As of 12pm today, NEA has not received any related local feedback that could be traced to the reported explosion," the agency said.

"We are in contact with the Department of Environment (Johor) and we will provide updates if there are changes to the situation."

RESIDENTS FELT STRONG VIBRATIONS

The explosion resulted in strong blast vibrations in the surrounding areas, witnesses said.

Mohd Azizi Mahmun, 24, who lives near the scene, said he felt as though there was a strong "kick" on the door of his house when the incident occurred.

"I was asleep during the incident, and woke up due to the strong vibration," he said.

"It also set off the alarms (in) the cars in the area. My neighbours and I then came out (of our houses) and saw smoke and fire in the area. People could see the incident as it (the structure which exploded) was near the road.

"But now I think the situation is under control because there have been no instructions for us (residents) to relocate." 

Another witness, Muslim Mustafa, 30, said he also felt strong vibrations after the explosion.

"I was asleep when I heard a loud explosion. The noise caused my door to shake and all the neighbours came out to see what had happened," said Muslim, who works as a material controller at the project site.

Corporate communications executive Calvin Fong, who lives in Simei, told CNA that he was jolted awake by the noise from the blast.

"I was half asleep when I jolted up due to a loud boom sound. My windows shook as well," said the 33-year-old.

"My first thought was that it could be really loud thunder. As I couldn’t go back to sleep, I checked the news outlets on my Facebook to see if there were any reports, but there were none. 

"However, a friend living in Pasir Ris posted to ask if anyone else heard a loud sound with a shockwave that shook his windows."

A preliminary report on the incident was expected from Malaysia's Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) on Friday afternoon.

The Johor DOSH had already instructed its team to initiate investigations, Deputy Minister Mahfuz Omar said.

Source: Bernama/CNA/aa(mi)

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