One dead, two missing in Belgian refinery explosion

One person died and two others were missing after an explosion at a refinery in the Belgian city of Antwerp, oil giant Total said Tuesday.

"We regret at this moment one fatality," said a statement from the company. "Two other persons are missing," it said, adding that "our first concern goes out to the family of the victim."

The French company released no information about the fatality other than to say the victim was an employee of a sub-contractor.

The explosion occurred at about 1400 GMT on the premises of Total Raffinaderij in Antwerpen, the company said.

It is Total's biggest refinery and the third largest in Europe, Belgian national TV said.

A company spokesman told AFP the explosion stemmed from a problem in its steam-pipes system, and the statement said operations in this area of the site have ground to a halt.

"The refinery is evacuated," it added.

"At this moment, the installations involved are being secured," it said, stressing that there was "no impact for the environment."