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Fire at RIL Jamnagar refinery; Govt to import 1 lakh tonne LPG

Written by: Staff
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Ahmedabad/New Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) A major fire broke out at the Reliance refinery in Jamnagar today, leading to the closure of a few units of the affected Vacuum Gas Oil hydrotreater-II and the government moved quickly to announce the import of one lakh tonnes of LPG to allay fears of any gas shortage.

According to an RIL statement, the fire, which started at 1040 hrs, had been brought under control within two hours and damage at the fire-hit 100,000 bpd VGO hydrotreater was being assessed.

''We have shut only a few adjoining units of the hydrotreater as a precautionary measure and all other key units are functioning,'' a Reliance personnel told UNI. Responding to a query, he clarified that the plant may be shut down for about a fortnight.

In New Delhi, reacting fast to the fire in the Jamnagar refinery, one of the biggest in the world, Petroluem Secretary M S Srinivasan said that efforts were on to procure one lakh tonnes of LPG through imports. Other oil marketing companies, HPCL, IOC. BPCL etc have been asked to pitch in their supplies to tide over shortfalls.

Earlier, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said the fire had created a shortfall of 1.2 lakh tonnes of gas and added that the government would ensure that there is no shortage of LPG.

''Our concern is only LPG,'' Mr Srinivasan said.

A RIL source said any fire damage appeared to have been limited to the VGO unit. One person at the Jamnagar plant in Gujarat had been seriously injured but there were no other casualties, the company statement added.

RIL, which says its Jamnagar plant with a capacity to refine 660,000 barrels per day is the world's third largest refinery, said in a statement that it is expected to restart shortly, a nearby diesel hydrotreater that had been shut as a precautionary measure.

The company gave no estimate on when the unit, which removes sulphur from heavy feedstock to make higher-quality fuels, would be able to restart. A spokesman said feedstock for the fire-hit unit would now be diverted into other units.

State and Union government officials had earlier said the entire plant had been shut and could remain closed for at least 10 days but the RIL statement affirmed that other key units, including the crude and petrochemical units, were operating normally.

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