Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has ordered a high-level inquiry into the GAIL pipeline fire in Andhra Pradesh that killed at least 15 persons.
A fire was reported at 0530 hours in state gas utility GAIL India Ltd's pipeline that carries gas to Lanco's Kondapalli power plant near Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. The fire which followed a blast, has been brought under control.
The 18-inch pipeline carried gas from state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp's (ONGC) gas field in the East Godavari district.
Following the fire, ONGC shut two fields while electricity generation at 1,466 megawatt Kondapalli power plant fell.
"The gas pipeline has been shut. Fire has been controlled. This is a very serious situation and I have ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident," Pradhan told reporters here.
The inquiry committee will be headed by a Joint Secretary in his Ministry and will have officials of Oil Industry Safety Directorate, NDMA and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) as members.
GAIL and ONGC have been kept out of the inquiry committee.
The incident occurred few hundred meters from ONGC's Tatipaka Refinery at Nagaram village in Amalapuram Mandal.
"I have briefed Prime Minister on the situation... Right now the focus is on relief, rehabilitation and rescue. I, along with Petroleum Secretary (Saurabh Chandra), GAIL Chairman (B C Tripathi) and ONGC Chairman (D K Sarraf) are leaving for the accident site," Pradhan said.
The inquiry committee has been asked to submit its report in a timebound manner, he added.