Tom Kirkman

Unlikely to be "Accidental" ... Iranian Oil Pipeline Explodes

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One pipeline explosion can be accidental.

Two pipeline explosions within two months, in a minority separatist region, seems pretty darn unlikely to me to be "accidental".

Iranian Oil Pipeline Explodes

An oil pipeline in the Iranian province of Khuzestan, exploded yesterday, reported citing Iran’s state news agency IRNA and disclosing satellite images of the blast. According to the governor of the province, there were no casualties, IRNA reported. Still, a nearby village has been evacuated.

Later reports from the Associated Press said the fire had also affected a gas pipeline, with five people injured.

The cause of the blast was accidental, according to media reports. The 42-inch pipeline was being repaired and what caused the fire was a bulldozer crashing into the pipeline and an oil spill that caught fire. The valves to linked oil and gas pipelines have been shut off to prevent the fire from spreading, but the oil in the Omidieh pipeline needs to burn in full before repairs can be restarted.

This is the second serious pipeline blast in Khuzestan, Iran’s main oil-producing province, in the last two months. In March, a gas pipeline there exploded, killing four and wounding at least five people. The blast was caused by a gas leakage, according to local government officials. However, a deeper cause of such accidents, some believe, is the combination of inadequate safety measures and aging pipeline infrastructure.

While these factors cause accidental pipeline blasts, sabotage is not unheard of, either, in Khuzestan, which is home to most of Iran’s Arab minority. Separatism is a long-running theme in the area and protests are not infrequent either.

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