Gas Pipeline Explodes in South Iran

 Gas Pipeline Explodes in South Iran Gas Pipeline Explodes in South Iran

In a fresh incident in Iran's petroleum industry, a gas pipeline blew up in southern Iran in the early hours of Saturday, but fire was contained within a few hours in what was believed to be an accident.

According to reports, a slug catcher unit of a 42-inch pipeline near the Genaveh County in Bushehr Province exploded, resulting in a fireball that took firefighting crew nearly five hours to extinguish, Oil Ministry's official Shana news agency reported.

The unit helps collect slugs at the outlet of pipelines. A slug is a large quantity of gas or liquid that exists in the pipeline. Officials blocked the flow of gas in the pipeline to prevent the damage from spreading.

"The fire started at 00:45 (local time) ... and was fully contained at 05:00," said the head of Health, Safety and Environment Department at Gachsaran Oil and Gas Company, Reuters reported, citing Shana.

"There has been no fatality. In total, four people are injured," he said.

Mehr News Agency said the incident killed one and injured three people. The report could not be independently confirmed.

Mohammad Mohseni added that the polyethylene facilities and the sour gas pipelines in the vicinity of the 42-inch gas pipeline were not damaged.

He said the fire and blast had happened during maintenance operations and a committee had been set up to investigate it further. A local official told state TV that the explosion was not an act of sabotage and "nearby villages have been evacuated as a safety measure."

  Chain of Incidents

The pipeline blast was the third in a string of incidents in Iran's oil and gas sector in just the past month.

On July 6, fire broke out at the Bouali Sina Petrochemical Complex in the southern city of Bandar Mahshahr in Khuzestan Province in what was described as the largest incident in Iran’s petrochemical industry in recent memory.

The explosion was said to be triggered by leaking paraxylene, a highly flammable fuel. It caused no fatalities but nine people were injured. The complex suffered an estimated damage of $66 million.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh dismissed assumptions that the incident was a result of sabotage or a terrorist plot.

About three weeks later, fire raged at Bistoon Petrochemical Complex in Kermanshah Province. Accumulation of flammable gases beneath the tank’s ceiling, which was ignited by a spark, was said to be the cause of the fire. No deaths were reported.