A leak in the pipeline of a refinery that caused an oil spill in Nagore Pattinacherry coast in the district here has been contained and steps are on to ensure a lasting solution to the issue, a senior official said on Saturday.
However, the unrelenting fishermen from the village, who noticed the oil spill on Friday morning, continued their agitation for the second day today demanding the authorities to remove the underwater crude oil pipeline.
The leak in the pipeline of the Cauvery Basin Refinery of the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) could have probably occurred on Thursday night, apparently due to damage to the old pipeline used to transport crude oil to the Karaikal port once in one-and-a-half months.
Meanwhile, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd said the leakage on the pipeline was arrested in the morning hours of Saturday and currently officials were engaged in flushing to make the pipeline hydrocarbon free.
“The crude oil leakage which occurred in the nine km long 20″ crude oil pipeline from CPCL CBR Crude Storage Tanks at Nagapattinam to Karaikal Port on the late evening of March 2 was arrested today (March 4, 2023) morning hours,” CPCL said in a statement shared with PTI. Flushing is planned in the pipeline to make the pipeline ‘hydrocarbon free, the company said.
“Though the leak in the pipeline was reported on Friday, the officials could not take up the restoration work immediately because of the high tide. Work to arrest the oil spill and clean the coast was taken up after the tide receded,” Nagapattinam District Collector A Arun Thamburaj had said earlier.
Following the collector’s orders, officials from CPCL, Coast Guard, police and fire and rescue service officials worked round the clock and arrested the leakage in the early hours today. The drip in the carbon steel pipeline was clamped temporarily and the district administration has directed the refinery to find a lasting solution, a senior official said.
CPCL said oil dispersants have been deployed to make the sea surface clear and also the oil recovery system is deployed to clear the area in totality. “This activity will be continued till the area is clear of hydrocarbons,” CPCL said.
Workers from the CPCL used excavators to create a bund on the shoreline while sandbags were piled around the damaged pipeline to facilitate the clamping during the low tide between 1 am to 4.45 am today.
The reasons for the leak in the pipeline is under investigation. Officials from CPCL with support from its parent IndianOil Company Ltd and district administration are working round the clock to complete the job expeditiously to ensure there was no impact on the environment, CPCL said.
The pipeline, laid about 20 years ago, remained idle for most part of the month. It is suspected that the residue in the pipeline could have caused the minor leak leading to the oil spill for about 50 metres.
Local fishermen abstained from fishing for the second day today and continued their agitation demanding the refinery to remove the pipeline.