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Fire at RIL Jamnagar refinery; may be shut down for 2 weeks

Written by: Staff
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Ahmedabad/Mumbai, Oct 25 (UNI) A major fire broke out at a VGO hydrotreater-II unit of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) located at its petroleum complex, near here, this morning.

According to an RIL statement issued here, the fire broke out around 1040 hrs in the Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO) hydrotreater-II unit.

Following the fire, RIL shut down a few units at the refinery.

Announcing this, a RIL statement said the fire, which started at 1040 hrs, had been brought under control within two hours and that damage at the fire-hit 100,000 bpd vacuum gas oil (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.

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.

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.

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 may 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.

However, a reliable source at RIL maintained that the production would be ''hit significantly'' as the refinery is a major exporter of high-quality gasoline and jet fuel.

In this context, when asked Mr P Raghavendran, head of RIL's refining business merely said that as of now it has enough product stock for the next few days. The total product availability and the extent of the damage to the VGO Hydrotreater II unit, which is one of the 40 units in the refinery complex is being assessed, he added.

The Jamnagar plant had been set up in mid-1999 and is currently among the world's most complex refineries, allowing it to use cheaper high-sulphur crudes to produce more profitable, ultra-clean fuels that meet the higher environmental Euro standards.

RIL is the country's largest private sector company on all major financial parameters with turnover of Rs 89,124 crore (USD 20 billion), cash profit of Rs 13,174 crore (USD 3 billion), net profit of Rs 9,069 crore (USD 2 billion), net worth of Rs 49,804 crore (USD 11 billion) and total assets of Rs 93,095 crore (USD 20.9 billion).

UNI SN MJ RL ND1726

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