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Pipeline explodes in western Kazakhstan 02 февраля 2015, 20:32

An explosion on a gas pipeline in West Kazakhstan Oblast has occured early this morning.
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Photo courtesy of mgorod.kz Photo courtesy of mgorod.kz

Explosion on a gas pipeline has occurred in West Kazakhstan Oblast early in the morning, Tengrinews reports citing Moi Gorod.

The incident occurred at around 3 a.m. on February 2 between the towns of Novenky and Akzhol in Zelenovsky District, just 30km away from the administrative center of the Oblast - Uralsk city.

According to eyewitnesses, there first was a bang and then they saw a huge flame several meters high bursting from the pipe. The fire was so strong that it could be seen from the city.

The explosion occurred on the international line of Orenburg-Novopskov pipeline that belongs to Uralsk-Central Asia, the gas-main pipeline manager company. The line feeds gas to 22 villages in Zelenovsky District, Taskala District and the city of Uralsk.

Officers of the region's Department of Emergency Situations (DES) quickly arrived at the scene. However, accessing the place was difficult.

Security services had to block the pipeline from both sides. 45 people were involved in the fire extinguishing operation, including the staff of Emergency Department, the local police and representatives of Intergas Central Asia JSC and Semser Ort Sondirushi LLP.

The fire was extinguished at 9:53 a.m., according to the Department of Emergency Situations of the Oblast. Employees of JSC Intergas Central Asia are now conducting on-site restoration work.

As a result of the explosion 12 nearby villages were cut off from gas. These are nine villages in Zelenovsky District (Beles, Akzhol, Novenky, Shalgay, Zheleznovo, Egindikol, Zelenyi, Karazhar, Peremetnoe) and three in Taskala District (Taskala, Merey and Aktau village). Gas is used for heating and cooking in the villages.

32 social facilities in the villages were left without gas supply as a result of the accident, including eleven schools, three kindergartens, five health facilities and nine cultural facilities. Altogether, 11,855 people are in the affected zone.

The gas supply is expected to be restored at 10 p.m. on February 2. 

According to the regional administration, avoiding a complete disconnection of gas in the villages of Zachagansk and Taskala was possible thanks for transfers to reserve lines.

"Officials were dispatched to every household in the villages where the gas supply was disconnected to raise awareness and prevent accidents. Gas was supplied to the village of Zachagansk near Uralsk from a reserve branch line. Many of the social facilities are equipped with generators," the Akimat (local authorities) resorted.

No casualties or injuries have been reported.

The police, local authorities and gas companies are investigating the causes of the pipeline accident. The most likely cause that is being considered at this point is stress corrosion cracking - growth of crack formation in a corrosive environment that can lead to unexpected sudden failure of normally ductile metals subjected to a tensile stress, especially at temperature changes. The version of a terrorist act is not being considered for lack of ground. 

Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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