The Wikipedia list on the Internet states Belgium, Canada, China, Malaysia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and United States as countries that have had multiple gastrunk line accidents causing fatalities, grievous injuries and loss/damage to properties. Incidentally India does not figure on the list! However media reports continue to state GAIL, ONGC, GSPL, IOC and Reliance to have flouted many a safety regulation in the past.
A gas trunkline is one of the key elements of the gas transmission system that is designed for natural gas transmission from production areas to consumption points. It is the main means of long-distance gas transmission. Early this morning’s GAIL pipeline blast killed 14 persons when a fire broke out in the gas trunkline at Nagaram village in Mamidikuduru Mandal of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.
The 18-inch pipeline with 70-80 kg psi is 200 feet away from the ONGC gas collecting station Tatipaka. It is said the fire was triggered by a household stove in the early hours when it came in contact with the leaked gas cloud which was already spread and settled in the area. While the GAIL website provides most other information there is no mention at all of safety norms to be exercised or regulations to be complied with.
As concerned onlookers we feel that safety norms should be made a compulsory compliance by all such companies involved in gas trunkline operations. Natural Gas is a new age fuel, well known for its lowest carbon to hydrogen ratio that burns completely, making it the cleanest of fossil fuels. Natural Gas satisfies most of the requirements for fuel in a modern day industrial society, being efficient, non-polluting and relatively economical.
The periodic uncertainties and volatility in both the price and supply of oil have also helped Natural Gas emerge as a major fuel in the energy basket across countries. But in the race to grab market shares, companies are flouting safety measures. This is not the first time such an incident has happened. We need to take better care of installations and regularly check for damage or signs of danger. The following link provides information on upkeep of gas trunklines, that we all need to be aware about.