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India's Hindustan shuts portion of Visakhapatnam refinery following fatal fire

08.23.2013  | 

Television news channel NDTV said a person was killed and 10 others were injured in the fire at the refinery in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam. The company has shut the refinery as a precautionary step and it is too early to estimate the loss from the fire, according to Hindustan officials.



NEW DELHI -- State-run Hindustan Petroleum partly shut its refinery in southern India on Friday following a fire at a cooling plant that left one worker dead.

The fire "is under control now," Hindustan Petroleum Refineries Director B.K. Namdeo said by phone from Mumbai.

The company shut one unit of the refinery at the coastal city of Visakhapatnam as a precautionary step, Mr. Namdeo said. It is too early to estimate the loss from the fire, he added.

Visakhapatnam Police Commissioner B. Shivadhar Reddy said the death toll could go up.

"As many as 40 people were injured in the fire, out of which 35 were taken to hospital with burn injuries," Mr. Reddy said. One of them died later, he added.

 The Visakhapatnam refinery has a crude oil processing capacity of 8.3 million tpy, or about 166,000 bpd. The company has another refinery in Mumbai, western India, with a capacity of 6.5 million tpy.

It also runs a joint-venture refinery with Mittal Energy Investment Pte. at Bhatinda in northern India. This refinery can process 9.0 million tpy of crude.

Dow Jones Newswires

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Dharmendra Patel

In my opinion, root cause analysis of the accident is to be done considering relevant evidential DATAs.Historical data of such incident reveals some untouched lapses in the system. Undoubtly,HPCL is the big HC processing company which must be following & complying with basic process safety requirement. But the incident is eye opener & there must be root cause analysis of the incident to avoid such re-occurance elsewhere.
Dharmendra Patel

K L Pai Goa/Mangalore

From the report I understand that the fire is in cooling towers area.
Following is my experience:

In cooling tower circuit water comes to top of tower and is exposed to sunlight, and this leads to algal growth. eventually it generates Methane and the gas traps in some voidages in the piping system.
Whenever repair/welding is crried out on the pipeline this trapped methane gas can catch fire and can proagate in the piping system which may lead to explosion.
Normally whenever a connection is to be made to the existing pipe a small pilot hole is drilled and possible presence of explosive gas is found using a explosive meter.


V K Kapoor

It is one of the very good refinery. It is sad to have incidence of fire

Gopal Alag

Dear fellow HPI readers,
To assess root cause, we would like to know 'what part of the Refinery facilty caught fire?' . Fire at Cooling Plant is pretty vague. Is it a Chilling or Refrigeration Unit? If so, which part of the refinery process is this? Was it in Secondary Processing unit at downstream of Crude unit? or Any petchemicals unit,if HPCL has at its downstream? or Fire occured at one of the Utility units? Appreciate input to suggest the cause of the fire.


we nee to know the rootcauseof the fire

N chalapathi Rao

Dear Sir
Through investigation consequent to the incident which is usual.
but what we need to understand why such a complacency on the part of HPCl which witnessed major accident when one of its tanks under fabrication exploded causing human loss ,few years ago.Don't they follow a very common safety check and work permit system with all sincerity.any person who works in a petrochemical complex knows the impending dangers that are most likely to occur when laid out procedures are not followed. from every accident we should learn and we need not have fresh accidents to refresh our knowledge.

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