Triggering a fresh wave of panic among locals, dense plumes of smoke were seen coming from the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited plant in Vishakhapatnam on Wednesday, May 21.
According to reports, the smoke was diffused from the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) at HPCL, which the company clarified was due to “technical snag” and “temperature issues”. The situation was swiftly brought under control by the people at the site, the operations were resumed as normal and no casualties have been reported.
The recent incident at HPCL was viewed with heightened dread because of the recent styrene gas leak from an LG Polymers plant in the city that killed at least 12 people and had injured over 600. But, the HPCL PRO Kalidas told ANI that the situation is currently restrained.
Kalidas said, "Due to a technical snag and temperature issues plant-3 restarted, thick smoke came out when the plant was started. Immediately a team of HPCL technical swung into action and took immediate measures to stop smoke, catalyst backup, situation under controlled and resumed operations."
While at HPCL plant the situation did not escalate into another disaster, in the latest development of the previous Vizag gas leak, the Supreme Court has denied interfering with the order issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directing the LG Polymers to deposit Rs 50 crores for the damage caused by the harmful styrene gas. NGT had also set up a five-member committee under the leadership of former Andhra Pradesh High Court Judge B Seshasayana Reddy to visit the site of the accident and submit a report.
Meanwhile, the work at the plant has been put on hold after the incident which killed at least a dozen of its workers. The LG Polymers is a step-down firm of South Korean Petro giant LG Chem and it has said in a statement that the transportation of its inventory of Styrene Monomer (SM) from Visakhapatnam to South Korea stands completed. The Managing Director Jeong Sunkey has reportedly ensured that no more SM is left at the plant in Vizag.