The inferno in the plant’s 1.4 million-tonnes-per-year residue catalytic cracker started around 6:40pm (1040 GMT), state media said.
The refinery in Liaoning province and owned by PetroChina Dalian Petrochemical Corp, has three crude distillation units with total processing capacity of 410,000 barrels per day of crude oil. Catalytic crackers typically produce gasoline.
Firefighters battled huge flames and billowing smoke, pictures on the People’s Daily twitter account showed, before bringing the blaze under control within two hours.
No casualties have been reported so far, Xinhua said.
Local government officials were at the site on Thursday evening as an investigation began into the cause of the inferno, state radio reported on its social media blog.
The plant’s crude processing operations were not affected, although there may be a small reduction in output at the gas separation unit as a result of the incident, a refinery source said.
PetroChina was not available to comment.
In 2013, an explosion at the refinery left two people injured and two missing. - Reuters