Fire, explosion at Argentine oil plant affects output, no victims

BUENOS AIRES, March 22 Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:25pm EDT

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BUENOS AIRES, March 22 (Reuters) - An oil tank exploded at a treatment plant run by state energy company YPF on Saturday, affecting more than 3 percent of the firm's total output of crude but leaving no fatalities, the company said.

YPF said its nearby Lujan de Cuyo refinery, which produces 106,000 barrels of oil per day, was drawing on oil from back-up deposits and operating normally.

Local TV broadcast images of a large oil tank ablaze at the Cerro Divisadero treatment plant in the province of Mendoza, around 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires.

The company said the fire and explosion affected the entire treatment complex, forcing the closure of ten deposits that produce 1,460 cubic meters (51,559 cubic feet) of crude per day. The ten tanks make up 3.8 percent of YPF's total output.

"The fire started midday on Friday in one of the plant's oil tanks," YPF said in a statement. "The company activated its contingency plan and told provincial and national authorities and is at this time working with them to control the situation."

The plant was evacuated and 14 people received medical attention, YPF said.

(Reporting By Jorge Otaola, Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Diane Craft)

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