LAHORE/RAHIM YAR KHAN: A blast in a pipeline of the Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) on Bhong Road near Sadiqabad’s Rahimabad area on Wednesday morning disrupted gas supply to many parts of Punjab.

Sources said the blast occurred after miscreants planted a time device at the 36-inch pipeline near a substation of Sui gas.

Eight firefighting vehicles of the Rescue 1122, the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and a private factory extinguished the fire.

Affected areas include Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, DG Khan and Faisalabad

It affected gas supplies to domestic consumers in Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, DG Khan and Faisalabad.

Sadiqabad Assistant Commissioner Abbas Raza Nasir told Dawn that the SNGPL engineers reached the spot soon after the incident and two other experts were also expected to visit the spot for a forensic test.

He claimed that it was a terrorist activity as the pipeline had been blown up by a device, adding that it would take 24 to 48 hours to restore gas supply to affected areas.

SNGPL Chief Engineer (transmission) Muhammad Shoaib said the 36-inch RLNG pipeline was laid one year ago to supply gas from Karachi to Islamabad.

“It feeds the industry, gas stations and domestic consumers in central Punjab,” he said, adding that 40 to 50 blasts had occurred in the area since 2002.

Last month, he said, terrorists fixed a bomb at this pipeline near Sadiq canal, Sardargarh, but security guards timely intervened and removed the bomb. In Wednesday’s incident, he said, miscreants dug a three-foot hole at the main RLNG pipeline and fixed a device that blew up at 2.40am.

He said that the gas restoration work had begun and it would be completed in the next 48 hours.

A press release issued by the SNGPL said the pipeline was blown up at the segment (AC1X - AV7) downstream of A-1 repeater station on Wednesday at 2:40am.

“Since it is a sabotage activity by some miscreants, the SNGPL immediately mobilised its teams to the site for the repair work.

The teams shut down compressor stations installed at ACIX-Qadirpur (Bhong), ACIX-Sui (Bhong), AC4 (Uch Sharif), AC6 (Multan) and AC0 (Sui),” said a spokesman for the SNGPL.

Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan in a statement said the power supply situation was managed through alternative fuel after the blast. He said the situation could persist for some time.

Our Bahawalpur correspondent adds: SNGPL Regional Manager Malik Bashir Ahmed said it would take 14 hours to repair the portion of the damaged pipeline.

Talking to Dawn, he said that work for the pipeline restoration was in full swing and asserted that affected areas had been provided gas through two other pipelines.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019