Fire breaks out at Indian Oil depot; no casualties reported

NEW DELHI Sat Jan 5, 2013 10:39am EST

1 of 2. Onlookers stand as smoke billows from Indian Oil Corporation's fuel depot in Hazira, near Surat city of India's western state of Gujarat January 5, 2013. A major fire broke out at an IOC fuel depot on Saturday in Hazira with no reports of casualties or injuries, according to local media.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A fire erupted and spread at a fuel storage terminal of state-run Indian Oil Corp in Hazira in Gujarat state on Saturday, a company executive said, an incident which may force India's largest refiner to import fuel.

No casualties were reported from the fire, whose cause was not immediately clear. The Hazira terminal has nine storage tanks - five gasoline and four diesel.

The tank where the blaze started had about 5,000 kilolitres of gasoline, almost half of its capacity, when it caught fire.

"Because of wind the fire has spread to another petrol tank. We can see smoke coming out of second petrol tank as well. It had substantial volumes," said N Srikumar, executive director at the company.

Srikumar had said earlier that Indian Oil was looking into the cause of the fire that broke out in the afternoon and that authorities were trying to cool the other tankers at the depot by sprinkling water on them.

Indian Oil, which meets about half of the country's domestic fuel demand, along with its subsidiary, Chennai Petroleum Corp (CHPC.NS), control 10 refineries accounting for about 31 percent of the national capacity of 4.3 million barrels per day (bpd).

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Writing by Arup Roychoudhury; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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