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Jakarta Post

Fire at Central Java gas facility cuts off supply to power plant, homes

  • Norman Harsono and Wahyoe Boediwardhana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Surabaya, East Java   /   Thu, April 9, 2020   /   05:23 pm
Fire at Central Java gas facility cuts off supply to power plant, homes Pertamina EP employees stand outside the Gundih plant in Central Java after a fire on Thursday morning forced an emergency evacuation. (Pertamina/Pertamina)

State-owned oil and gas company Pertamina’s Gundih central processing plant (CPP) in Blora, Central Java, was deactivated on Thursday afternoon, cutting the gas supply to a nearby power plant and thousands of households, after a fire broke out earlier in the day.

The fire began at about 9:30 a.m. when a disruption in the facility’s thermal oxidizer, which is used to control gas emissions, created sparks that ignited the fuel.

Pertamina subsidiary PT Pertamina EP, which operates the Gundih plant, said in a statement that the fire was put out at about 10:45 a.m. and that no deaths had occurred.

Read also: To your doorstep: Pertamina launches gas, fuel delivery service amid pandemic

“The gas well has been shut down for stabilization. All employees within Gundih CCP have been evacuated. Two fire trucks, an ambulance and paramedics are on standby at the location,” said Pertamina EP’s general manager for the facility, Agus Amperianto.

The shutdown of the Gundih facility, which has an output of 50 million metric standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd), has cut the fuel supply to the 1,000 megawatt Tambak Lorok combined-cycle power plant as well as 5,800 homes in East and Central Java.

Despite the cut-off supply, a representative from the power plant’s operator, state-owned electricity company PLN, said the region’s electricity supply was “very safe” because regional peak electricity consumption had fallen 11.2 percent over the past two weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“So even if Tambak Lorok is non-operational, the system is safe because our supplies are very safe,” said PLN Java, Madura and Bali business director Haryanto.

The electricity company has a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) reserve supply on standby that “will only be used, if needed, until Pertamina’s supply returns,” he added.

Read also: Pertamina secures fuel and household gas supply as more people stay home

State-owned gas distributor PGN, which operates household gas pipe networks in Central and East Java, said the company would mobilize its CNG supply from the latter province to aid affected households.

PGN said in a statement that it channeled gas from the Gundih plant to 4,000 homes in Blora and 1,800 homes in Semarang, Central Java. Each customer in the former category consumed, on average, 1,300 cubic meters of gas per day, while those in the latter category used an average of 300 cubic meters daily. The gas is mostly used for cooking.

“PGN’s Blora and Semarang household customers have not been affected yet. Stoves are still on as there is still piped gas supply,” said PGN corporate secretary Rachmat Hutama.