Fire At ONGC Hazira Plant Snaps Supplies, Company Diverts Gas From Uran To Meet Shortfall
Emissions rise from chimneys at the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. plant in Maharashtra, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Fire At ONGC Hazira Plant Snaps Supplies, Company Diverts Gas From Uran To Meet Shortfall

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A fire at Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.’s gas processing facility near Surat in Gujarat on Thursday snapped fuel supplies to power and fertilizer companies but the company is diverting gas from other fields to make up for the shortfall.

The fire broke out at around 3 a.m. at ONGC's Hazira gas processing plant and was extinguished by 7:30 a.m., the company said in a tweet.

There were no casualties, ONGC said. "Fire at Hazira Plant has been completely extinguished. Efforts are being made to resume normal operations at the earliest."

Hazira facility received gas from ONGC's Bassein field off the west coast as well as from Panna/Mukta and Tapti fields. It was handling some 32-33 million standard cubic meters of gas per day.

As a safety drill, after the fire, fields were shut and gas supplies to customers snapped, a company official said adding operations will be restarted soon once the safety review is complete.

ONGC rushed senior officials including Director (Offshore) Rajesh Kakkar to Hazira to oversee the safe restart of the system which can happen as early as Friday.

The Hazira plant is India's largest gas-processing facility and a critical supplier of the fuel to domestic industries that receive gas from the Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur trunkline. The HVJ trunkline is the country's largest and runs from Hazira in the west to Jagdishpur in northern India.

State-owned gas utility GAIL India, which used to supply gas from Hazira to users such as power plants and fertilizer units, has enough stocks in the HVJ pipeline to maintain supplies for some time but said it is rationing gas supplies to customers because it is unclear when the Hazira plant will resume full operations.

GAIL in a statement said "about 30 mmscmd of natural gas supplies into its north-western pipeline network (HVJ system) was immediately shut-off" following the fire.

Later in a statement, ONGC said the fire at Hazira Gas Processing Plant near Surat has been extinguished. "All efforts are being made to resume normal operations in the plant at the earliest."

"Earlier in the day, fire was observed around 3:05 a.m. due to leakage of gas from a gas pipeline," it said. "On the first signs of gas leak and fire, emergency shutdown actuators were immediately activated and plant was shut down."

ONGC said to ensure safety and as a measure to control fire, gas pipelines in the plant were depressurised by releasing the gas in the pipelines, in a controlled manner, through the Flare Stack.

"Large scale depressurisation, actuated due to shutdown of the units, resulted in blast-like noise," it said. "Disaster Management Plan including pressing fire tenders into service was immediately activated. The fire was completely extinguished by 0730 hours today."

It said there were no casualty or injury in the plant and the cause of incident is being investigated.

GAIL said: "In the force majeure event triggered by the ONGC Hazira incident, supply cuts up to 40% against current allocations have been imposed on the downstream customers."

"However, uninterrupted supplies are continued to be maintained to the city gas customers for supporting domestic kitchens (piped natural gas) and public transportation (CNG)," GAIL said in a statement.

The ONGC official said the company was diverting 2-2.5 mmscmd of gas from Uran to meet the immediate shortfall of critical customers.

Operations will be resumed once all safety parameters are reviewed, he said adding the damage was limited due to the company's high safety standards including automatic shut-off of gas source in the event of any disaster.

State-owned power producer NTPC shut its 656-megawatt gas-based power plant at Kawas near Hazira and the 657 MW Jhanor-Gandhar plant due to gas supply disruption. Fertilizer maker Kribhco hasreduced capacity after cut in gas supplies.

"GAIL north-western pipeline grid supports about 80 mmscmd and there is no damage to the network due to the unfortunate incident at ONGC facilities at Hazira," the company statement said.

GAIL said it is committed for the safe operation of the pipeline network and is maintaining close coordination with ONGC teams at the site, towards the speedier restoration of natural gas supplies through alternative systems.

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