Reuters International

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Four people were injured in a fire and blast at Romania's Black Sea Petromidia crude refinery, deputy Interior Minister Raed Arafat said on Monday.

Arafat told Digi24 TV that a fire and blast at a nitrogen tank in the refinery was being dealt with by firefighters as footage taken from the nearby sea resort of Mamaia showed the facility spewing thick clouds of black smoke.

"The fire is now extinguished," a spokeswoman for the refinery, Costinela Dragan, told Reuters by telephone at about 1600 GMT. "Things are now safe."

In May Romanian prosecutors seized the Petromidia refinery and other assets belonging to Rompetrol and parent company KazMunayGas in a wider investigation into the Romanian company's privatisation in 2000.

Last month KazMunayGas challenged the seizure, saying it would take the dispute to international arbitration if no solution was found.

(Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by David Goodman and Susan Fenton)

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