M A I N   N E W S

Major fire at RIL refinery

Jamnagar, October 25
A major fire today destroyed one of the oil processing facilities at the Reliance refinery here, but company chairman Mukesh Ambani said there would be no production loss.

“I spoke to Mukesh several times today and he assured me that there would be no production loss”, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said in New Delhi.

But the government was taking no chances and asked state-owned Indian Oil Corporation to tie up for the import of about 1 lakh tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to meet any shortfall arising from the fire at a secondary processing unit (VGO Hydrotreater-II), in which one employee suffered 60 per cent burns.

“The fire was only at one of the secondary units and other operations were not impacted”, RIL president (refinery) P.K. Kapil said.

Petroleum Secretary M.S. Srinivasan said as per the information made available by the RIL, the fire might have been caused by a faulty valve.

“The fire has not affected operations of the two crude distillation units at the refinery”, he said.

Mr Deora said Mr Ambani informed him that the person injured was being flown to Mumbai for treatment.

RIL officials said the refinery unit would be shut for 10 days for repair, but overall throughput would not be hit.

Mr Srinivasan said there could be an LPG shortfall because of the fire and steps were being taken for import.

An RIL press note said the fire broke out at 10:40 am and was doused in less than two hours by Reliance plant and fire-fighting personnel.

“The exact extent of damage to the VGO Hydrotreater-II unit, which is one of the 40 units in the refinery complex, is being assessed”, the press note said.

“As a precautionary measure, the neighbouring Diesel Hydrotreating Unit-II has been shut safely and we expect to restart the same shortly”, it added.

“All other refinery units, including both crude units and petrochemical units, are operating normally”, it said.

Mr Deora said Mr Ambani told him that the fire engulfed a limited area and other units were functioning normally.

“The RIL supplies about 2.4 million tonnes of LPG per annum”, he said.

He added that the company had assured to make up for all supply shortfalls during the outage period.

Mr Srinivasan said the country had 19 or 20 days of LPG stocks and all exigencies had been accounted for.

The Jamnagar police said emergency teams rushed to the spot as soon as the fire alert was sounded.

People were evacuated and inflow of crude to all sections of the refinery was cut off following the fire. — PTI



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