Gas Contamination Caused Explosion at Russia's Siberian Oil Refinery? Speculations About Possible Sabotage Surface

Two people died and five others were injured after a huge blast rocked the largest oil refinery in eastern Siberia on Thursday. The blast at the Angarsk Oil Refinery led many to believe that it was an earthquake.

Angarsk Oil Refinery
Angarsk Oil Refinery Twitter

Video Shows Blazing Flames at Refinery

The blast, which took place at 5.52 am local time, caused major damage to the nearby buildings. The blaze from the burning plant had spread to an area of 2,500 square meters by the time it was contained by the authorities.

The Moscow Times reported that the explosion caused seismic activity as seismologists confirmed that the residents of the city of Irkutsk, 45 kilometers to the southeast, and other nearby towns felt aftershocks from the blast. "Many mistook it for an earthquake," regional Governor Igor Kobzev wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Videos were shared on the social media platforms showing the fire at the refinery and high flames raging in the area. A few users also posted videos of the damage sustained by their house following the fatal explosion.

What Caused the Explosion?

The outlet reported that even though the local investigative authorities have started an investigation in the criminal case to look for the safety violations, the emergency officials said that the processing unit fumes may have caused the blast at the refinery.

Daily Star reported that despite no official confirmation behind the cause of blast, many suspected it to be a result of sabotage. "Explosions followed by a major fire at the oil refinery in Angarsk, the 3rd biggest city of the Irkuck Voivodeship. 2 people died. Terrorist sabotage is possible," tweeted a user.

"Oil depot is on fire in Angarsk, Irkutsk region, Siberia, eastern Russia, more than 5.000 km from Ukraine. Looks like it was hit either by a kamikaze drone or missile. Maybe an asteroid?" wrote another user.

"Due to another unknown fire and #Siberia the explosion was so intense that it was registered as a small earthquake," expressed a user.

"Rosneft's oil refinery is on fire in the Irkutsk region. This is the largest enterprise in northern Siberia. Earlier, by the way, it was one of the top ten oil refineries," opined a user.