Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh has a long history of lethal gas leaks since the 1990s, a period when industrial exploration and oil rig excavations were at its peak.
The gas well blast at Pasarlapudi, East Godavari in 1995, is considered to be the second-biggest blowout in the world by researchers. Here’s a look at the various blow-outs and accidents Andhra had to witness over the years.
Pasarlapudi gas-well blow-out (1995): On January 8, 1995, a gas-well blow-out in Pasarlapudi of East Godavari district led to a massive fire in the region which lasted for around 65 days. Although no casualties were reported, it took firefighters two months’ to douse the flames using a specially designed machine, `Halliburton sand cutter’, which sprays silica and water with tremendous force.
HPCL blast in Vizag (1997): Around 70 people were killed after six LPG tanks exploded at Hindustan Petroleum’s refinery in Vizag on September 14, 1997. Around 15 lakh people were evacuated from Mallapuram, Sriharipuram, and Ganjukawa. It took firefighters 48 hours to douse the flames. Earlier in 2012, a minor gas leak in the same plant had killed three people. However, citizens allege that the MNC did not pay heed to the issue.
Thandavapalli gas blow-out (2005): In 2005, Thandavapalli in East Godavari witnessed a blow-out in ONGC’s exploratory oil well. No casualties were recorded. However, the oil rig was destroyed.
HPCL blast (2013): On January 26, 2013, a major blast occurred in the HPCL refinery located at Vizag. The blast was allegedly triggered by a short circuit leading to the death of at least 22 workers. The fire started after an LPG pipeline leaked in the storage area of the refinery.
Nagaram GAIL blast (2014): On June 27, 2014, the pipeline of the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) caught fire near an ONGC connecting station leading to the death of 23 people. The blast occurred in Nagaram village under the Mamidikuduru Mandal of East Godavari district. According to a study, the explosion occurred close to the ONGC’s Tatipaka mini-refinery. The gas collecting station began leaking the day before the accident. It caught fire when the tea stall owner lit a stove.