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India's ONGC Douses Fire on Offshore Gas-fed Plant

September 24, 2020

A fire at an Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) plant caused by a pipeline rupture has cut gas supplies to customers including power and fertiliser companies, said a person familiar with the matter at gas marketing firm GAIL (India) Ltd.

The fire broke out on Thursday morning at ONGC's Hazira gas processing plant in western Gujarat state and has since been extinguished, ONGC said, adding that it is working to resume normal operations.

There were no casualties, ONGC said.

GAIL, India's biggest gas marketing firm, supplies the bulk of gas produced at ONGC's western offshore fields to customers in the states of Gujarat, Goa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The Hazira plant also gets gas from western offshore fields.

It supplies about 60 million standard cubic metres of gas daily to these customers.

ONGC has shut its Hazira plant, which produces liquefied petroleum gas and other products such as naphtha.

"We have cut gas supplies by 40% to our customers. We have notified some customers and are in the process of sending notices to others," the GAIL employee said.

The person, however, said gas supplies could improve from Friday as ONGC is in process of fixing the pipeline.

India's biggest utility NTPC Ltd has shut its two gas-based power plants in Gujarat state, while fertiliser maker KRIBHCO has reduced capacity use, people at the two companies said.

"Our capacity utilisation fell to 50% in the morning due to gas supply disruption," a person at the KRIBHCO said.

Jadish Prasad Verma, general manger for production at KRIBHCO's Hazira plant, said his company is trying to arrange gas from other local suppliers after an output cut.

NTPC has shut its 656 megawatt gas-based power plant at Kawas near Hazira and a 657 megawatt Jhanor-Gandhar plant due to gas supply disruption, a person at the company said.

Gas supplies to customers have temporarily closed due to safety reasons, an ONGC spokesman said.

"There could be some impact on our production... We are investing the cause of fire, and extent of damage."

NTPC and GAIL did not respond to Reuters emails seeking comments.

Surat Collector and District Magistrate Dhaval Patel, a senior city official, told Reuters the fire was caused by a rupture in a pipeline at the gas terminal. ONGC's plant is in Surat, a city in Gujarat.

"The area was cordoned off, depressurised and cooled as part of firefighting measures," Patel said.

"Other plants in the vicinity are operating as usual. I am told that the ONGC plant will also become partially operational in two to three hours," he said.

Surat Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani said the fire was in the 36-inch Uran-Mumbai gas pipeline. 

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma in New Delhi and Summit Khanna in Ahmedabad; Additional reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Christopher Cushing)



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