Fire broke at central Russian oil refinery

A fire caused by rupture of a natural gas pipeline broke at oil refinery in central Russia Tuesday, an emergency official said. Russian news agencies reported flames shooting into the sky.

The incident at the Novoufimsky plant near Ufa, about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) east of Moscow, occurred around 11:30 a.m. (0730 GMT), said Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry in Moscow.

There were no reports of injuries, he said.

State-run Channel One television said a fire had broken out on the territory of the plant. Russian news agencies quoted witnesses as saying flames were soaring into the sky.

The refinery is 85 percent owned by the Bashkir Capital investment fund and is the smallest of three in the region, with a production capacity of about 130 million barrels a year, reports the AP.

Shani Kogan, an oil analyst with Sovlink securities in Moscow, said the refinery was also at the center of a ownership dispute with the government in the Bashkorotstan region, which alleges the plant was illegally privatized.

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