“There was a fire in the plant for refining crude oil. It has been blocked off and now we are in the process of cooling the unit,” Bengt Oldsberg, managing director of Preem’s Gothenburg plant, told Göteborgs-Posten.
All staff in the area affected by the blaze were evacuated.
“The fire was intense in the first quarter of an hour and it’s still burning, but it’s much smaller now,” said Preem’s press officer Thomas Ögren.
According to Ögren, the operations at the plant had been temporarily stopped for an overhaul, and it was as production got underway again that the fire could have begun.
The refinery has its own emergency services which were called into action as soon as the fire was discovered at around 1.30pm.
“You heat stuff up, it comes under pressure and so on. That’s when you test it to see that everything’s as it should be. It seems that something leaked,” he said.
Soon after 3pm the emergency services were still working on cooling the systems around the fire scene itself.
“Not until that is done can we begin putting out the fire,” said Peter Carnebratt at the emergency services in Gothenburg.
In addition to the plant’s own fire personnel, 35 men from Gothenburg emergency services were at the scene on Sunday afternoon.
The Hisingen refinery is large, with a capacity of around 5 million tonnes of crude oil per year. It is one of two refineries owned by Preem in Sweden. The other is in Lysekil.