Major fire breaks out near oil wells at Numaligarh Refinery in Assam

Blaze controlled in 20 minutes but water being sprayed to bring temperature down, company says

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Representative Image

Subhayan Chakraborty New Delhi

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A massive fire broke out at the Numaligarh oil refinery in Assam late on Monday night at a critical infrastructure near the oil wells.

"A fire broke out at the Numaligarh Refinery Limited’s Hydrocracker Unit (HCU) in vessel Number VV-04 at approximately 19:20 hours on May 29, 2023. The vessel is a cold high-pressure separator," Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) said in a statement around midnight on Monday. The NRL is a subsidiary of Oil India Ltd, a national oil production company.

High-pressure separators are used to separate oil, water and gas from the initial well stream. They are installed either in an onshore processing station or on an offshore platform.

"The fire was brought under control within 20 minutes from [the] breakout. However, as per firefighting protocol, cooling through water spraying is still being carried out," NRL said.

The nearby hydrogen unit has been shut down as a precautionary measure, it added.

Sources at Oil India said there was no casualty or injury in the incident; the extent of the damage, though, is yet to be assessed.

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An external committee is being set up to investigate the cause of the fire and ascertain the damage, the sources said.

Located at Morangi in the Golaghat district of Assam, the refinery began commercial production in 1999.

NRL has been on a major integrated Refinery Expansion Project to treble its capacity to 9 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) at an estimated investment of over Rs 28,000 crore, one of the highest in the region. 

The project also involves setting up a crude oil import terminal at Pardeep Port in Odisha and laying about 1,640-km of pipelines to transport imported crude oil to Numaligarh.

First Published: May 30 2023 | 10:45 AM IST

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