|The huge fire that broke out at IndianOil’s petroleum terminal at Jaipur in Rajasthan on 29th October, 2009 late evening has since been brought under control with the full support from the Rajasthan State Fire Services, State Government authorities and the Indian Army. Presently, the fire has been doused in ten of the 11 tanks while one tank with a small quantity of petrol is still active. This should also get extinguished soon.
Immediately after the fire broke out, the crisis management team at IOC swung into action to take control of the situation and coordinate with the various agencies. Mr. G.C.Daga, Director(Marketing), IndianOil reached Jaipur at 3 a.m. in the morning of 30th October, 2009 to lead in the relief operations. The entire IOC team at Rajasthan State Office, lead by Mr. Gautam Bose, General Manager was also in the forefront coordinating and supervising the various arrangements.
In addition to the fire fighting teams from Jaipur, fire tenders and personnel from IndianOil’s neighboring locations at Jodhpur, Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Bharatpur and Hanumangarh as well as Mathura and Panipat Refineries, were also rushed to the accident spot. The immediate focus was to localise and contain the fire, even as people were moved out to safety zones. The fire was not allowed to spread beyond the terminal complex even though all the 11 tanks were up in flames, one after the other.
The product was allowed to burn inside the tank as any effort to spray foam or water would have cooled down the tanks, thus affecting its stability and metallurgy, leading to serious consequences of spillage(along with the fire) due to dangerous cracks on the tank surface. This would also have meant high probability of re-ignition of petroleum products (vapour accumulation) spilled on account of tank cracks. To avoid this, the product was allowed to burn inside the tank, just as in Puerto Rico, where fire in a vast tank farm in a refinery premises broke out on 23rd October 2009. A similar approach was also undertaken in another major fire at an oil terminal at Buncefield, UK in 2005. In fact, allowing the product to burn is one of the safe practices in fighting such massive fires so to ensure that the fire is well contained and localised as otherwise it can spread and cause more devastation all around.
Even as the inferno raged, IndianOil rushed petroleum products from other supply centers so that the people of Jaipur in specific and Rajasthan state in general, would not be affected by a shortage of petroleum products. Supplies are being moved from IOC locations at Ajmer, Bharatpur, Hanumangarh and even Jodhpur and Chittorgarh Depots/Terminals to Jaipur and neighboring areas.
11 people, including six IOCians, perished in this accident. There were many who sustained serious and minor injuries. The entire IndianOil family extend their condolences to all those who died in this unfortunate accident. The Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Mr. Murli Deora, IOC Chairman Mr. Sarthak Behuria, Director(Marketing) Mr. G.C.Daga and Director(Pipelines) Mr. K.K.Jha rushed to the site immediately and extended condolences to the members of the bereaved families. The Hon’ble Petroleum Minister announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family members of the deceased, Rs Two lakh to the seriously injured and Rs One lakh for those with minor injuries. IndianOil has also made a contribution of Rs 50 crore to the Government of Rajasthan for relief and restoration of those affected in the neighborhood(industries).
Separate investigations are already on by the seven-member committee set up by the Government as also by a four-member internal committee set up by our Chairman. Their reports should be able to shed light on the cause of this accident. Independent of the investigations, it is also proposed to undertake safety and security audits of all operating Depots, Terminals, Plants and AFSs and submit a comprehensive report to the Oil Industry Safety Directorate before 31st December 2009.
The unfortunate accident has torn through the hearts of each and every IndianOil People. For a company which has withstood many a calamity, it is once again today faced with yet another sterling challenge. The 32,000 strong IndianOil People is fully committed to rise as one team and maintain the supply line of vital petroleum products, not just in Rajasthan, but across the entire nation. As the 'Energy of India', IndianOil will continue to serve the nation with the same spirit and zeal that it has in the last 50 years.
|Updated on November 06, 2009