26th January, 2001 was a black Friday for India. The country was celebrating Republic Day and everyone was in a joyous and holiday mood. But nature and fate willed otherwise. It was at its cruel best. As the clock struck 8:46 a.m., a massive earthquake, the worst ever to hit the country since Independence, measuring 8.1 on the Richter Scale devastated Gujarat State. For 45 long seconds, the deathquake violently rocked most parts of the State reducing cities and towns to rubble and entombing several thousands in the debris. Thousands terraced under the crushing weight of the concrete, which was once their homes. So large was the number of those who lost their lives, that there was no space in the crematoriums to accommodate the bodies, and relatives/friends were left with no option but to cremate their loved ones even on the sides of the roads. The devastating Earthquake had tremendous impact on the entire oil industry of the state. Storage tanks started tilting, pipelines came out of pedastals, pipeline flanges leaking endengered the possibility of fire. Apart from collapsing of various civil structures, storage tanks sank more than 300 mm inside the ground. Power and communication systems in the state totally collapsed. Entire industries were caught unaware. All disaster management plans failed. Most of the employees were busy in finding out the well being of their family members. The most vulnerable task was to commence supply of petroleum products to quake affected people. The killer quake caused a lot of destruction, havoc and grief but it did not succeed in breaking the determination and resolve of our INDIANOIL men in restoring supplies of crucial petroleum products to the affected areas. Almost every retail outlet was affected by the earthquake. Those less damaged began operating within minutes of the quake, with the assistance of a generator. Others, who unfortunately suffered severe damages were helped by Indian Oil's territorial army personnel to recover and commence supplies to motorists. Within a couple of days, all the retail outlets were back in action. Indian Oil ensured that there was sufficient stock of LPG Cylinders with all distributors and who ever approached the distributors with an empty cylinder was given a refill. Despite the distributors godowns being damaged, supplies of LPG Cylinders went on. Supplies were also rushed from other locations by road. Immediate actions were taken with the help of available manpower to stop leakages, keep fire fighting teams ready for any eventualities, commencement of loading of tank trucks specially with kerosene for rescue supplies. All pipelines were de-pressurized. All post quake activities were carrried out and Indian Oil was successful in overcoming the effects of the earthquake in theshortest possible time. Total financial loss to the company due to the earthquake was about 65 Million USD.
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Roy, Soumen Kumar. "Effects of an Earthquake On the Oil Industry." Paper presented at the 19th World Petroleum Congress, Madrid, Spain, June 2008.
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