BPCL says Numaligarh fire not caused by ‘external actors’

Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), the smallest of the three state-owned oil retailers in India, refuted suggestions that a fire at its Numaligarh refinery was caused by an act of sabotage or terror.

The Assamese insurgent group, the ULFA, had claimed that it set off the explosion.

“The company is confident that this is not the case of sabotage by any external agency as is being claimed,” it said in a late-night statement.

It said that a fire took place in the 3 million tonne refinery in Assam today at around 6.30 PM and was brought under control by refinery personnel and the fire authorities by 8.15 PM.

“It is reported that the fire broke out in one of the high pressure equipment of its hydro cracker pressure unit of the refinery.The response to the fire has been prompt and the unit has been isolated to restrict the damage to the other units.The operations at the neighboring units of the affected plant have also been shut down as a precautionary measure.There has been no casualty,” BPCL said.

The unit is operated by Numaligarh Refinery Ltd, a subsidiary of BPCL.

BPCL said the units which were shut down as a precautionary measure will resume operations tommorow morning.

It has appointed a three-member committee to investigate into the causes of the fire and a detailed report is expected in 15 days, BPCL said.