• Probe blames refinery for gas leak

    KOCHI: A detailed investigation conducted by Factories & Boilers into the recent gas leak at Ambalamedu has revealed that the accident was caused by venting of hydrocarbon gases from BPCL-Kochi Refinery functioning in the area. The agency also issued specific instructions to the PSU on preventing such accidents in future.
    As many as 25 students and two teachers of Ambalamedu Government Vocational Higher Secondary School were admitted to hospital after being exposed to the leaked gas.
    District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla in a statement issued here on Monday said the accident was caused by gas released from the crude oil distillation unit of BPCL-Kochi Refinery (CDU-III), during its installation. “When such procedures are carried out, for starting up vacuum distillation units, there will be venting of hydrocarbon gases for a short duration. Venting of gas from the hot well of the vacuum distillation unit is done in order to normalise the unit. It is a procedure followed universally,” said the Collector.

    The Collector said the gas cloud from the unit had settled on the premises of the school, due to the weather condition prevailed at the time of the incident. The cloudy sky prevented gas from escaping into the atmosphere.
    “To prevent such incidents from occurring again, the ‘direct vent provision’ should be blinded and gas should be vented through a scrubber and then to the flare stack,” added the District Collector. Johnny Unitas Authentic Jersey

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