PowerGas may appeal against fine

SINGAPORE - PowerGas is considering an appeal against its $1.5 million fine for a gas leak on Jurong Island in April last year.

The company is part of the Singapore Power Group and runs Singapore's gas transmission and distribution networks.

According to investigations conducted by the Energy Market Authority, the high pressure gas pipeline was damaged on April 23 last year.

The statutory board said in a statement that a contractor carrying out tunnelling works on the island had used an outdated gas pipeline plan provided by PowerGas. It added that the hefty penalty was meted out as the incident "could have resulted in very serious consequences to public safety and system security (and also) disrupted the gas supply to several users on Jurong Island".

The incident is also said to have brought traffic in the area to a halt for more than four hours and it took several weeks before the flow of gas resumed. The underground pipeline transports natural gas from Indonesia to at least seven petrochemical plants.

Under the Gas Act, PowerGas is required to keep an up-to-date record of its pipeline networks. The company has since verified its gas pipeline routes and updated its plans on Jurong Island. Commenting on the fine, a PowerGas spokesman said on Wednesday: "We disagree with the decision and we are considering filing an appeal under the Gas Act."

In 2011, the Chief Justice cut a $100,000 fine for a damaged gas pipe to $5,000, calling the original amount "manifestly excessive". Contractor JS Metal had been working on building a linkway for Sengkang West when a worker accidentally hit a pipe using a mechanical clawed-bucket.

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