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A plume of smoke seen in the disrtance following the early morning explosion at the Niquan plant, on Wednesday 7th April 2021.

It has now been confirmed that an early morning explosion that shook Pointe-a-Pierre and other nearby communities occurred at the recently opened Niquan Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) plant. Initially, there had been concerns that the shuttered Petrotrin refinery had exploded.

The loud blast woke residents in surrounding areas just after 6.30 am this morning and there was initial speculation that the ageing infrastructure at the former Petrotrin refinery had finally given way.

Senior officials of Niquan Energy are reportedly involved in a virtual meeting about what caused the explosion and how badly it damaged the infrastructure.

The T&T Police Service (TTPS) issued an advisory a short while ago warning the public to “exercise caution” in the vicinity of the Petrotrin compound and to seek alternative routes as first responders are on the scene.

Eyewitnesses described a frightening situation where they were surprised by the loud explosion, looked around to see birds flying off into the sky and smoke billowing from the plant. Some said they felt the ground shake.

Guardian Media reached out to Niquan director Ainsley Gill who directed all questions to Malcolm Wells, Niquans Vice President of Corporate Affairs. He is expected to respond shortly.

This is a developing story and Guardian Media will give updates as more information comes to hand.