PARADIP: Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday directed the Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) to probe into reasons behind the Saturday’s fire mishap in the oil refinery here and submit a report within three days.
The Union Minister on Sunday visited the Atmospheric and Vacuum Unit (AVU) of IOCL Refinery, where fire broke out on Saturday, to review the situation.
Addressing mediapersons, Pradhan said all measures were taken by fire and safety personnel to control the flames.
Stating that Saturday’s fire was due to a technical failure, Pradhan said the mishap will not affect the inauguration of the 15 MMTPA plant by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 7 and IOCL is determined to go ahead with the event as per schedule. The helipad erected for Prime Minister’s chopper is just about 500 metres from the AVU.
Vapouring and pumping of crude oil like LPG, Naphtha, kerosene, gas oil are going on in the unit for making it fully operational, the Union Minister said. Other units are operating smoothly and production in other plants has not been affected, Pradhan stated.
Later, he also held talks with IOCL officials including Executive Director, Paradip Refinery, Ramjee Ram to know the cause of fire.
Pradhan was at IOCL on Saturday to oversee the preparations ahead of Modi’s visit.
In a release, Manager (communication), IOCL, Sangram Mishra said the fire caused minor damage in the outlet pumping section of the atmospheric vacuum unit. The damage is being assessed and the unit is likely to resume operations soon. The fire was brought under control with help of Refinery Fire and Safety Team.
Meanwhile, preparations are on in full swing for the refinery inauguration which will be attended by Governor SC Jamir, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Industries Minister.
Oil and industry ministers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives have also been invited for the event. While Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal have already given their consent, confirmation from Maldives is awaited.
Regarding shifting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal from Paradip to Dhamra, the Union Minister said all formalities for this have been completed. Instead of LNG, the Centre is committed to set up high power LPG unit at Paradip Port, he added.