Mexico's Pemex Expects To Begin Restart Of Top Refinery


MEXICO CITY, June 15 (Reuters) - Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex on Thursday said it expects to begin startup operations at its Salina Cruz refinery later in the day once it extinguishes a large fire that completely shut down the plant.

The blaze, which killed a firefighter and injured nine workers, broke out on Wednesday at the Pacific coast refinery in the southern state of Oaxaca, Pemex said.

With a processing capacity of 330,000 barrels of crude oil, Salina Cruz is Mexico's biggest refinery.

Pemex said it suspended much of its operations on Tuesday, when Tropical Storm Calvin flooded the plant.

The rising waters broke containment dams, triggering a spill of a type of heavy oil, which ignited on Wednesday morning at the facility's pump house, driving Pemex to entirely halt refinery operations. At least three large plumes of smoke were visible at the plant throughout Wednesday, fed by leaping flames consuming the oil. All of the nine injured were released from the hospital, Pemex said.

(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez and David Alire Garcia Editing by W Simon)


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