Watch: Massive explosion at Thar coal plant

No loss of life has been reported

At least five people were wounded in a massive explosion at Engro Powergen Thar Limited's coal power plant in Thar Block II on Wednesday. A video obtained by SAMAA TV shows the blast ripping through the building.

The explosion occurred on Wednesday at 5pm in the coal conveyor unit of the plant's 330MW unit 1. Consequently, five people were affected directly and they are being provided medical treatment, according to the statement issued by the Engro company.

Initial reports stated that the blast happened in the conveyor belt system which fed coal into the power plant. "It is important to share that the power plant was under scheduled outage where one of the units was already shut down for maintenance whereas the other was operational," the company said.

The company said that it was shutting down the operational unit for safety reasons while investigations into the incident were underway.

First power plant to use Thar's coal

Engro’s Thar Block II power plant is a coal-fired power station in Sindh’s Tharparkar district. It is Pakistan’s first power plant to use the indigenous coal reserves of Thar.

The 660MW power plant, which is part of CPEC, has been developed by Engro Powergen Thar or EPTL, a joint venture of Engro Powergen or EPL, CMEC, Habib Bank, and Liberty Mills.

Construction on the Engro Thar Block II power plant commenced in April 2016. Trial operations at the plant began in July 2018 while commercial operations began in July 2019.

The coal-fired power plant is located five kilometres from Thar Block II near Thar coalfields. It consists of two 330MW units, which integrate circulating fluidised bed or CFB boilers, tandem compound steam turbine units, and generators. CFB is an ideal option for the low-calorific-value Thar lignite coal.

It helps to regulate the plant’s environmental footprint by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions and capturing sulphur oxides. The 20kV, 50Hz, three-phase intercooled generators feature a hydrogen-cooled rotor and stator core, as well as water-cooled rotor windings.

The power plant is also equipped with associated equipment and systems such as cyclones, air pre-heaters, and water walls. Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company or SECMC supplies nearly 3.8 million tons per annum of coal for the coal-fired power plant from a new opencast mine.


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