A minor leakage of gas through a rusty pipeline that went undetected for some hours could have led to the blast in Gail’s unit in Andhra Pradesh. The blast claimed 15 lives.
This is the view of some Gail officials who believe that the raging fire could have been contained if necessary steps to fix the leakage had been taken the previous evening, sources said.
The Gail pipeline is a few hundred feet away from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) gas station in Tatipaka in east Godavari district, known for its rich oil and gas reserves.
An ONGC official said all the installations, including Tatipaka refinery, were safe.
The pipeline where the blast occurred is a dedicated line carrying gas to Lanco’s 1,466 MW Kondapalli power plant. Supplies to the plant are being arranged through alternate lines. The petroleum ministry has constituted a high-level committee to probe the blast.
“My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in the Gail pipeline fire in AP. My prayers are with the injured,” Modi said.
Shares of Gail were down around one per cent and traded at Rs 456.25. Market men said sentiments took a hit after the blast.
Friday’s incident comes nearly a year after a fire in the Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd refinery at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh killed 28 people in August, 2013.