A major fire broke out at the oil refinery of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) at Paradip spreading panic among the locals on Tuesday. Though no casualty or injury has been reported yet, sources said a pipeline inside the INDMAX Unit of Paradip Refinery caught fire at about 12 noon destroying properties worth millions. While as many as four fire tenders of the refinery were initially deployed to douse the fire, informed IOCL authorities and district officials rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
Realising the intensity of the fire mishap, IOCL authorities arranged five more fire tenders from Paradip Port, PPL, IFFCO and Kujang and pressed into service. As the heavy smoke was emanating from the unit and was clearly visible from a distance, panic gripped the workers and residents of nearby Trilochanpur, Mahal and other villages. An official said nine fire tenders took more than half-an-hour to douse the fire.
IOCL authorities, however, refused to give their comment on the cause of mishap and said the damage assessment is underway. The cause of the mishap is yet to be ascertained. Assistant Director of Factories and Boilers Manoj Kumar Panda said it is believed that a leakage on the pipeline in INDMAX Unit may have caught the fire causing the mishap. “IOCL has started an internal investigation and engaged its experts to know the exact cause of fire mishap. Besides, our department has also pressed experts into service to find out the reasons,” he added.
The INDMAX Unit having the capacity of 4.17 MMTPA is a major landmark for Indian Petroleum Industry. It is used for the production of high yield LPG, light olefins and high octane gasoline from various petroleum fractions. There are very few Indian companies, capable of developing and offering such high-level process technologies in the field of Petroleum Refining on a commercial basis.
Earlier, the Atmospheric and Vacuum Distillation Unit (AVU) of the IOCL refinery had caught fire on January 30, a week before the inauguration of the refinery by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.