Blast at Sasol plant in Secunda

2011-08-24 12:52

Secunda - At least one person was injured when an explosion caused a fire at Sasol's synfuel plant in Secunda on Wednesday morning.

The cause of the blast has yet to be confirmed, the company said.

The building had to be evacuated after the blast. One person sustained a fractured knee, while other employees are still being assessed for injuries.

According to a statement, issued by Sasol, the blast happened at 10:00 at the gasification plant on the west side of their Secunda plant.

"Emergency services were immediately dispatched and the situation is under control."

Sasol added the blast had had no effect on the surrounding community.

An investigation into the cause of the explosion is set to follow.

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts

  • Pictureof - 2011-08-24 12:57

    And that is why no one goes to Secunda for December Holidays. If those two behemoths decide to blow themselves up I am certain that TEKS will be one enormous crater.

      OldSA - 2011-08-24 13:25

      I worked for Sasol Secunda from 1989 to 2002 and in that time we had several blasts. Most of these blasts was caused by human error being bad workmanship or neglect. I know that Sasol has the highest standards for safety.(

      Pictureof - 2011-08-24 13:36

      I am retired now , but used to run my practice out of Evander. I attended to some really nasty casualty patients coming out of those two plants. I understand that the safety standards are maybe high, I doubt that they are properly enforced. I was always told that SASOL was designed on some 1940's Nazi technology, and that it was obsolete and rubbish before it was built?

      Saint_Ian - 2011-08-24 13:48

      Hahaha - Actually no one goes to Secunda for any holidays because its a dump !

      Caleb Hattingh - 2011-08-24 13:59

      Sasol tech is the Fischer-Tropsch process, which makes liquid fuels from coal, and which is much older than the Nazis. The main problem with the FT process is that the equipment is very expensive to build and the process is expensive to operate. The only time it makes sense to use it is: a) Wartime, so you can't get oil (Nazis) b) Oil sanctions (SA) c) You have a lot of coal and the cost of oil becomes too high (Everyone in a decade or two)

      E_O - 2011-08-24 15:14

      To add to Caleb Hattingh's comment- the Fischer Tropsch process itself makes synthetic fuel from a gaseous mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The feed to produce this gas can be a variety of substances, for example natural gas, biomass, various wastes etc., although Sasol uses coal. As such the process has actually gotten a lot of attention of late because of the potential green energy aspect of it.

  • Spyker May - 2011-08-24 13:07

    But is this not a regular occurrence..? I am sure there have been a number of blasts in the past (no pun intended) - eg the last not too long ago..?

      Spyker May - 2011-08-24 13:37

      I see the ANC trolls are hard at work repeatedly clicking the 'down-thumbs' - the latest tactic in their ASTROTURFING campaign. PS ASTROTURFING: “...a form of advocacy often in support of a political or corporate agenda designed to give the appearance of a "grassroots" movement...” “...The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political... ...entity AS AN INDEPENDENT PUBLIC REACTION to some political entity...” Extract from a Mail and Guardian article, “...Astroturfing is a tactic employed by the Chinese regime to attempt to ‘suppress and fragment’ any legitimate incongruities pointed out...” “...Anyone writing a comment piece critical of the Chinese government, for instance, is likely to be bombarded with abuse by people purporting to be ordinary citizens, upset by the slurs against their country...” The article:

      russki_za - 2011-08-24 13:53

      Or no-one likes you.

      Stun Gun - 2011-08-24 14:18

      Big thumbs up for JJ.

      VELOCITY - 2011-08-24 14:34

      Not regular at all Spyker. If one considers the size of the whole Secunda complex (Largest of it's kind in the world), then the accident rate is extremely low. Sasol still remains a technological "Tour de Force" and a jewel in South Africa's crown.

      Spyker May - 2011-08-24 15:01

      You could be in fact be 100% correct JJ. I did in fact forgot, it is more important to play the man and not the ball. It is best to shoot the messenger and so on. Keep it up and many thanks for the heads-up. As a sign of my sincere gratitude, I would like to return you’re most valuable advice: do not confuse speaking Russian as a sign of having cognitive critical mass – they were defeated by the Finnish... Get it..? Ye, though so – as I said, thank you so much...

  • delcelton - 2011-08-24 13:11

    Whats new?

  • the mc - 2011-08-24 13:17

    making money at the heart of it all...

      alessandroz067 - 2011-08-24 13:35

      and producing 40% of SA's fuel

  • slojam - 2011-08-24 13:30

    Oh No, Al-queda in SA now

      alessandroz067 - 2011-08-24 13:34

      That's just dumb.

  • Bankai - 2011-08-24 14:01

    Well the name of that area says it a Secunda it sounds like some room in hell, scrap it off the SA map

      alessandroz067 - 2011-08-24 14:15

      It means 'second' you idiot. Your comment shows your lack of education. If it's scrapped then SA will have a fuel shortage and your kombi fare will increase 10 fold becuase of the lack of supply. Then also, say goodbye to 7% of SA's GDP. What a tosser you are...

      Jabu - 2011-08-24 19:22

      You are a MORON

      AllHoliday - 2011-08-25 09:40

      Idiot! You obviously want more unemployed people out there, and where do you think will the tax money come from to feed the nation and keep the gravy train running???

  • Teddy Tshiamo - 2011-08-24 14:10

    terrible experince, 12 reported missing, 3 critically injured

      aireally - 2011-08-24 15:43

      where did you get your information from there isnt 12 people missing

  • Eddie V - 2011-08-24 14:23

    1 injury? Try 47. Again, bang up job News 24.

  • cepotgieter - 2011-08-24 14:27

    I know a few ppl working there... I hope they r ok!!??

  • Teddy Tshiamo - 2011-08-24 15:05

    Sasol managed to contain the gasses that were airborne as a result of the blast. The cause of the incident is still being investigated. Sasol views incidents of this nature in a serious light. The safety of its employees, service providers and community remains its top priority.

  • the rod - 2011-08-24 15:37

    i just hope that no life was lost.

  • Malcop - 2011-08-24 15:48

    We should boycott Sasol. It was tax payers money that was used to build this place, for long term benefits, when oil became too expensive. We have seen no benefits from these people. All the byproducts they produce are as expensive as imports, so South African industry does not benefit financially. In fact Sasol exports the majority of their byproducts to the likes of China far cheaper than they supply South Africans. They need to cancel their ISO status and get another quality management system. This way they may blow people up less frequently. This is about the third time in a space of 5 years.

      VELOCITY - 2011-08-24 16:06

      Uninformed moron, gaan speel met jou piepie man.

      Jacktar - 2011-08-25 10:49

      What an idiot, name says it all. Go back to school or use internet intelligently to improve your education. Is it you Julius???

  • tmeintjes - 2011-08-24 16:54

    My father worked for Sasol in the early 80's, they had a few blasts back then, my friends father was also killed at Sasol, I feel that with all the tech we have today, and the amount of $ the company is making, they should make a point of keeping things working properly, even if it means human error...why employ people who can perform on paper but not in reality... It is time we look at education, experience and brain capacity as a whole and not individually, they are lucky this time that no one got too badly hurt or killed, but if that place had to blow up it would be worse than any other event to have happened in this country!

  • William - 2011-08-24 17:03

    I was about 300m from the blast! I wish I knew what happend. It was really terrible

      caz.wardfaulha - 2011-08-24 17:45

      Glad to hear your fine William, hope everyone else is and prayers are with you all

  • Sampson Mamphweli - 2011-08-24 17:22

    It is highly unlikely for a properly maintained gasification system to blast, When gasifiers operate under pressure, explosions happen mainly due to negligence on the side of operators who may close the system improperly leading to high pressure release (blasts). I honestly think that the investigation should start at the operators and then look into the infrastructure itself, metal fatigue and/or wear and tear. Sampson Mamphweli (University of Fort Hare).

      Jonathan - 2011-08-24 18:35

      Hmm.. i read everyones comments. FYI.. Accidents Don't Just Happen, They are Caused. People's lives are important. I worked as a contractor at Sasol & if you look at the safety attitude of Sasol employees, they are not leading by example. Contractors tend to do the same. I have seen Sasol Safety Officers walking on piping in high places without any protection, but they want contractors to use protection. Come on, practice what you preach Sasol Permanent staff. Anyway, i just hope that the investigation find the right root causes because many times the investigators do not know what they are looking at. That's when you will normally have a recurrence of a similar incident. I hope that the people who got hurt will be OK. Prayers will help, but God help those who help themselves. Be cool! and let's learn

  • Dale Moore - 2011-08-24 19:02

    I am a student with Sasol and have done vacation work at Secunda and can assure you that the highest standards of safety are maintained. These things happen its just the nature of such dangerous plants, I think the safety record is great all things considered. Please don't comment if you have never been there and experienced the working conditions.

      Jabu - 2011-08-24 19:30

      Probably a bad student Dale. How many hours have u spent in the plant, any plant for that matter to know and be convinced and be assurered that the highest standards of safety are maintained?

  • Anne - 2011-08-24 22:35

    I pray for Anybody working in Sasol everyday and I'm one of them.

  • Anne - 2011-08-24 22:37

    I've been a contractor now at Sasol for 3 years. We are nailed on safety everyday and I agree with 90% of the things they nail us on. My only problem is and some people did mention it the Sasol employees do not do what they preach. Contractor get hammered and around the corner a Sasol employee does the same but the safety officer turns a blind eye, it is not his responsibility I look after the contractors. So yes keep the contractors in their place but please get the Sasol employees to do the same. Also maybe I can be corrected but this plant or parts of it is 30 years old. Now as a contractor most of our design got a 30 year life cycle. If you look at the environment it should even be less in Sasol. So my opinion and I really hope they can proof me wrong, Sasol is a disaster waiting to happen. Maintenance is very poor, production is everything. There is now a shut down happening the 17 Sept (a once a year thing) for 14 days. What can be done in 14 days once a year to work on such dangerous areas?

      buka001 - 2011-08-25 10:11

      Its the same on any project. If you are a contractor they nail you on safety and environmental issues daily. However when it comes to their own employees and their own business activities, the standards are way less. I am a civil engineer and I have worked on numerous mines, refineries and processing plants. It amazes me how the client will nail us for a cup of diesel that gets spilled, but when you dig a hole on their property, green acid (strong enough to dissolve steel) fills up the hole from the ground.

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