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The fire was in the compressor shed of the hydrocracker plant and led to an explosion. Residents of Chembur said they heard a blast and felt tremors

New Delhi, August 10, 2018:fire broke out at state-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation’s ( BPCL) Mahul refinery in the Chembur area of Mumbai at 2:45 pmon Wednesday, injuring several people.

The fire was in the compressor shed of the hydrocracker plant and led to an explosion, reports said, quoting local residents as saying they heard a blast and felt tremors. The hydrocracker unit is part of the Refinery Modernisation Project of BPCL.

“The fire is being fought by the refinery firefighting team. The fire is still on but is under control. There has been minor injury sustained by two people. They were attended to at our refinery medical centre and are being taken to hospital for further treatment,” a BPCL statement said.

According to reports published in energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com Executives from BPCL told ET they were investigating the reasons for the fire and the possible impact on output. “Due to tremendous heat and build-up of pressure, fire-fighting is being carried out from safe distance and using fixed monitors,” said chief fire officer P S Rahangdale.

Mono rail services were also stopped and nearby buildings were asked to vacate following the accident. A BPCL official said that the hydrocracker unit was installed as part of the refinery’s upgradation project to produce clean automotive fuels.

Fatalities, persons injured

The exact number of injured people still varies as media reports claimed different figures. At least 34 persons had been injured and eight of them were sent to Sushrut hospital for further treatment, according to a report.

A Press Trust of India report said that at least 43 people were injured in the accident. Another report from news agency ANI put the figure of injured persons at 21.

Not the first time for oil installations

This is the latest in a series of recent on-site accidents in India’s oil and gas sector.

In January this year, state-run petroleum explorer ONGC had lost five key operational personnel when a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed in the Arabian Sea. The Dauphin N3 helicopter was ferrying the officials to an offshore oil and gas facility.

Last month, Indian Oil Corporation had to shut a crude unit at its 150,000 barrel per day Haldia refinery refinery on the East Coast after a minor fire, according to a Reuters report. In another accident in January this year, an employee was killed while four others were injured in a blast in the Naphtha Cracker Plant on the premises of the IOC Refinery and Petro Chemical Complex at Baoli village in Panipat, according to a news report in Tribune .

Recently, a parliamentary panel had noted that in the past three financial years, 309 accidents occurred in the oil and gas PSUs installations resulting in 81 fatalities and injury to 193 persons.

BPCL reported 11 accidents in the three-year period with two fatalities, causing injury to 17 people, according to the report by the Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas according to  energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com

HPCL recorded the highest number of accidents at 149 during the period, resulting in 20 fatalities and injury of 61 personnel. ONGC stood second with 85 accidents resulting in 15 fatalities and injury to 29 personnel. The country’s largest fuel retailer Indian Oil Corporation reported 40 accidents at its installations leading to 18 fatalities and 36 injured.

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