Low quality gas could be behind Gail blast: Experts

Internal corrosion suspected

Low quality gas could be behind Gail blast: Experts

Experts said that last week’s Gas Authority of India Limited (Gail) gas pipeline blast in Andhra Pradesh could be due to some impurity in the natural gas which may have corroded its surface leading to a leakage.

A probe is on to determined to exact cause of the blast that killed 19 people. When contacted by Deccan Herald, Gail officials too did not deny that there could be some impurity in the gas although they said they were awaiting an official probe report.

Independent oil experts were of the view that corrosion on the internal wall of a pipeline could occur when the pipe wall was exposed to water and contaminants in the gas.

 “Natural gas is dry and non corrosive. It is much lighter than air and will usually dissipate rapidly in the outside environment. It will not cause explosion in open air,” said an oil expert, raising suspicion that the gas supplied to the Gail pipeline may not be dry and may have natural-gas condensate in it.

 The only way to reducing the potential for internal corrosion is to control the quality of gas entering the pipeline, he said. Natural-gas condensate is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids that are present as gaseous components in the raw natural gas produced from many natural gas fields.

Public sector oil firm ONGC supplies gas to the Gail’s pipeline which caught fire last Friday in Nagaram village of East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh.

An inquiry into the blast is also examining if there was a loss of thickness in the pipeline which mutilated and led to the explosion. Although the findings of the government-backed inquiry will be out towards the second week of July, officials involved in the probe say some technical faults will be known in a day or two. 

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