Three consecutive blasts led to a massive fire at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC’s) Hazira gas plant in Gujarat on Thursday morning. Unless operations are restarted soon, this is likely to impact the overall natural gas production in the country as Hazira contributes around 45 per cent to ONGC’s gas production. According to industry sources, the fire, which was caused by a pipeline rupture, disrupted supply to key sectors such as power and fertiliser. The company said it was investigating the cause of the fire.
“Of the 45 million metric standard cubic meter per day (MMSCMD) of gas coming from the western offshore region, around 32 MMSCMD is processed at Hazira. The plant is temporarily shut for safety reasons,” said a company official.
GAIL said about 30 MMSCMD of natural gas supplies into GAIL’s north-western pipeline network was immediately shut by the upstream major to contain any further damage. The total natural gas production by ONGC was around 70 MMSCMD in FY19. The major consumers of the western offshore production are from states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
In the force majeure event triggered by the accident, GAIL said supply cuts up to 40 per cent against current allocations have been imposed on downstream customers. However, uninterrupted supplies are being maintained to the city gas distribution customers to support domestic kitchens and public transportation (CNG), said the company. The plant capacity at Hazira is around 46.9 MMSCMD, while processing depends on the amount of gas received from the fields. After news of the fire, the shares of ONGC opened on the Bombay Stock Exchange at Rs 66, down from the previous day’s close of Rs 67.65.