GAIL officer AK Singh in pipeline safety probe

Vol 18, PW 19 (21 May 15) Midstream & Downstream

GAIL is taking safety so seriously following a tragic explosion at one of its pipelines last June (2014) that it is investigating possible cases of negligence going back eight years.

Take GAIL executive director (projects) AK Singh who is under investigation for allegedly ignoring crucial safety norms during the laying of a 187-km gas pipeline from Dabhol to Panvel in Maharashtra, commissioned in July 2007. At the behest of the PMO, the oil ministry’s vigilance department began an inquiry in February and on April 27 GAIL chief vigilance officer Rajesh Ranjan submitted his report.

Under scrutiny is why Singh allegedly took a shortcut to ensure the pipeline was completed on time, which could have endangered safety. An 84-km stretch meant to have a 30-inch diameter was converted to a 24-inch diameter ‘non-piggable’ stretch, in other words one which could not be monitored, cleaned or maintained.

When contacted, Singh, a potential candidate for the vacant GAIL business development director job, vigorously denies the accusations. "If we didn't take these steps the pipeline would have been delayed," he tells PETROWATCH.

“Monsoon rains had just started and yet we managed to go ahead and complete the stretch in less than a year, the fastest project ever completed at GAIL. I do not know about any investigation.

If you know anything please tell me.” Well-wishers say Singh acted only to ensure the project’s completion on time.

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