(Adds refinery spokeswoman's comments, damage to cocoa factory,
TEMA, Ghana, April 29 One person was killed in
an explosion on a pipeline linking Ghana's 45,000 barrel-per-day
Tema Oil Refinery in an industrial hub near the capital Accra to
a nearby port, a spokeswoman for the refinery said on Tuesday.
The 5 km (3 mile) stretch of pipeline was transporting
naphtha, primarily used as a feedstock for producing gasoline,
when it began to leak around midday. Passersby had begun
collecting the highly flammable liquid, when a sudden fire broke
out at 2 pm (1400 GMT), spokeswoman Aba Lokko told journalists.
The fire sent a column of dense black smoke billowing
hundreds of metres into the sky above Tema, around 20 km (12
miles) east of Accra.
Witnesses told Reuters they had seen the charred body of the
victim of the accident. Lokko said the person was not an
employee of the refinery.
The fire was brought under control in around three hours and
output from the refinery would not be disrupted.
"Products supplies to the refinery will not be affected in
any way, shape or form," Lokko said.
The fire also damaged part of Cocoa Processing Company's
nearby factory forcing it to shut down. The facility
has capacity to process 64,500 tonnes of cocoa beans annually.
"Our engineers are on the ground doing the initial
assessment, but what we can say immediately is that the fire has
damaged our packaging materials," CPC spokesman Ekow Rhule, told
"The main power cable feeding the factory is also affected
so we are not running the plant this evening," he added.
The refinery has been hobbled by repeated shutdowns over the
last few years, but Ghanaian President John Mahama said in
February that Tema was close to signing a joint venture
agreement with PetroSaudi International.
The refinery's managing director was in London at the time
of the accident as part of a delegation meeting with PetroSaudi
to conclude the deal, Lokko said.
(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo and Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Writing by
David Lewis and Joe Bavier. Editing by Andre Grenon)