Two contract labourers were killed in a fire at an ONGC operated oil installation at Geleki in Sibsagar district in Assam on Thursday evening, according to official sources.

The fire was doused in three hours. Operations are expected to resume on Saturday. The installation produces approximately 400-500 tonnes of oil a day. Senior ONGC officials have rushed from Delhi to take stock of the incident.

While the company is yet to ascertain the exact reasons behind the fire, unofficial reports suggest that the incident occurred at approximately 5 p.m. at the group gathering station (GGS)-III, when contractual labourers were trying to open the ‘Heater Treater’ (used in separating water from oil) plant for annual maintenance.

According to available information, the victims used hammer to disassemble the jammed valves. With gas pocket inside the equipment, the hammering triggered a fire that was further fuelled by oil.

Six ONGC fire tenders were immediately rushed to the spot and the fire was doused in three hours.

ONGC sources ruled out any major financial loss. “The equipment though necessary to carry out the operation is relatively inexpensive. Also, the installation handles only a few hundred tonnes of oil a day,” a source said.

(This article was published on January 11, 2013)
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