Monday, 30th October 2017

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Fire shuts HPL plant

A leak in the plant’s naphtha cracker unit is suspected to have caused the fire

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 22.09.19, 1:22 AM
  • Updated 22.09.19, 1:55 PM
  • a min read
Workers return from the shut HPL plant on Saturday Telegraph picture

Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) has to shut down its plant in the wake of Friday’s fire that left 15 staffers injured.

The decision was taken on Friday night to avert further trouble even as the management was trying to locate the source of the gas leak. A leak in the plant’s naphtha cracker unit is suspected to have caused the fire.

HPL issued a statement on Saturday evening saying the company “has been taking expeditious action for restoration of normal operations early. By tomorrow it would be possible to determine the date from which normal operations will commence, and we expect the same to be very soon.”

Naphtha, a derivative of crude oil, is the main raw material for HPL, which produces polymers that go into making plastic products and certain chemicals.

The shutdown will lead to lost sales of around Rs 30 crore a day for HPL, in addition to an estimated Rs 5-crore hit per day in operating profit.

Ashok Kumar Ghosh, the plant head of HPL, said one of the 15 injured staffers was released on Saturday. “The plant was operational for the last 18 months. It is a minor incident. Even though the naphtha cracker unit has been shut down, the downstream unit will be in operation till the raw material lasts,” Ghosh told The Telegraph.

A source said the condition of two of the injured was serious and added the others would be released in a few days.

All 15 injured were brought to Calcutta on Friday for treatment and admitted to several private hospitals. A green corridor was created on the route for faster evacuation of the patients with the help of the administration. The HPL management is bearing all treatment expenses.

HPL is one of the largest manufacturers of polymers in India and the biggest in the east. The Chatterjee Group of New York owns the majority stake, while the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation has a significant minority stake.