Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gas transit pipeline explodes in E. Ukraine

June 17, 2014 13:01h VIDEO
An explosion has struck a pipeline in the central Ukrainian Poltava region. Witnesses say flames from the blast are up to 200 meter high. The “Brotherhood” natural gas pipeline (Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod) is about one kilometer away from the nearest settlement. No injuries have been reported from the blast. Fire fighting crews have been deployed to the scene.

“The explosion occurred at about 14:45 local time in a field. Due to the flame and the high temperatures, it is impossible to get closer to the epicenter,” the local police press-service said in a statement. This video allegedly shows the fire at the “Brotherhood” pipeline.

 It cannot, however, be immediately verified.  
 Pipeline faucets are being tuned off as fire fighters still can’t put out the flame. The cause of the explosion remains unclear and could be determined after the fire is extinguished. According to preliminary reports, the explosion was caused by pipeline depressurization. Operating since 1967, the “Brotherhood” is the largest consumer gas pipeline in Europe, clocking in at 4,451 km. 

It cuts through Ukraine and runs into Slovakia, where it diverges in two directions; with one part supplying gas to the Czech Republic, Germany, France and Switzerland, and the other to Austria, Italy, Hungary and several countries in the Balkans.

 Whether the explosion affects gas supplies to Europe will be seen in the coming days, Russian gas giant Gazprom has said. At the same time, Ukrainian state gas pipeline and depot operator Ukrtransgas says that the accident will not affect transit of Russian gas to European consumers.  
"It (the explosion) clearly did not affect the gas flow," a Ukrtransgaz spokesman said. 

 The Poltava region, where Ukraine's oil and natural gas industry is concentrated, is in the center of the country. This territory is under the protection of the Ukrainian army and has not been the scene of fighting between anti-government militias and government forces.

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