BY DESMOND DAVIDSON
Published: 10 June 2014 | Updated: 11 June 2014 12:42 AM
The orange glow of the fire following the Petronas gas pipeline explosion as seen by the people of Lawas in the early hours of this morning. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Desmond Davidson, June 10, 2014.
Sarawak PKR chief has demanded Petronas conduct “a full and thorough” investigation into the cause of the explosion of its gas pipeline in Lawas earlier today and make their findings public to placate the fears of people living along the pipeline.
Baru Bian said some 2,000 people living along, or close to, the pipeline in the most northern district of the state are now living in fear as the assurance the national petroleum company gave them before they constructed the pipeline years ago is now all very hollow.
“Is this pipeline safe. To me, it is unsafe. To them, it is very unsafe following what happened today.
“That is why Petronas has to come out and be open with what really happened,” the Ba Kelalan assemblyman said in reaction to the “massive” explosion which shook this district of around 40,000 people at around 2am today.
Lawas, covering an area of only 3,811 sq km, is sandwiched between Brunei and Sabah.
The shockwave reportedly could be felt “strongly” by people in Lawas town 40km away and those who ventured to the streets wondering what had shaken them out of their beds were treated to a spectular night sky lit up by an orange fireball.
The 100 villagers of Long Resina, according to Baru, all left their homes in fear “thinking the world had come to an end”.
|Part of the oil palm plantation which was |
scorched following the fire. -
The Malaysian Insider pic
by Desmond Davidson, June 10, 2014.
Long Resina, like the villages of Tunas Baru (360 residents) and Long Ramirang (100 residents) are only 4km from the site of the explosion.
Petronas, in a statement confirming the “fire incident”, said the site of the explosion was “about 135km from the Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT) in Kimanis – the starting point of the pipeline.
It added there was no injury reported and the incident had not affected any of the communities along the pipeline.
It also added an investigation on the incident is already being carried out and the company would “provide more information when it is in a position to do so”.
The pipeline is part of the Sabah-Sarawak Integrated Oil and Gas project – an integrated project that involved the development of offshore oil and gas fields in Sabah and Sarawak, and construction of onshore facilities to store, process and transport resources produced from the offshore fields.
The Sabah-Sarawak Gas pipeline (SSG) and the SOGT comprise the onshore portion of the project.
The 512km-long SSG pipeline is to transport the gas from the SOGT to the Petronas liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex in Bintulu where it will be converted into LNG.
Approximately 90km of the pipeline runs through Sabah with the remaining 422km in Sarawak.
According to the Petronas website, “the pipeline's construction was slated for completion by March 2011, but has been progressing behind schedule”.
Baru said he was uncertain if the pipeline, built at a cost of RM1.6 billion, was already completed, commissioned or was still under testing phase.
Villagers who ventured to the site of the explosion this morning found a vast swathe of area scorched.
The scorched area included part of an oil palm plantation. – June 10, 2014.