Energy authorities are beefing up security at fuel terminals and power plants nationwide following a failed sabotage attempt at the fuel terminal of Thai Petroleum Pipeline (Thappline) in Lam Lukka, which supplies jet fuel to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Today, the Energy Business Department will summon all oil retailers to discuss additional security measures. All fuel terminals have been urged to take precautions.
Energy Minister Wannarat Charnnukul insisted yesterday that the incident would not disrupt the supply of fuel to Suvarnabhumi Airport, because there were 19 tanks at the terminal. He insisted that security at fuel terminals and power plants was at its highest, but that it was impossible to fully protect them from long-range missiles. He issued a statement urging an end to these sabotage attempts because it would result in a wide-scale impact.
Danai Nanasombat, Thappline managing director, said the firm was currently evaluating the damage after an unknown group of assailants fired a grenade at an oil tank early yesterday.
Preliminary study showed that fire had wasted oil and damaged the tank, though the terminal has insurance coverage. While saying that more closed-circuit cameras will be installed to beef up the security, he added that the Energy Ministry should take the matter to the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation.
Police also found a piece of a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the scene yesterday.
Provincial Police Region 1 Commissioner Pol Lt-General Krissada Phankongchuen and Pathum Thani police chief Pol Maj-General Methi Kusolsrang inspected the depot at 11.30am and found that the RPG had created a one-and-a-half-inch hole in the T410D tank used for storing 22 million litres of jet fuel.
The fuel that gushed out burst into flames, though officials were able to put out the fire and plug the hole quickly. The sabotage took place at 1:30am. Workers told police that they heard an explosion and rushed to the tank to find it catching fire.
Police believe the assailants fired the RPG from the motorway, which is about 100 metres away. Bottles of energy drinks were found abandoned at a spot on the motorway from where police believe the suspects fired the RPG.
The hole in the fuel tank has been plugged and much of the petrol transferred to another tank. However, the damaged tank needs to be emptied before it can be fully inspected and repaired, which could take several days, an engineer at Thappline said.
This is the third bomb attack on properties in the vicinity of Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya provinces since the political turmoil started.
On April 13, police was alerted that two 230KV high-voltage electric poles had been damaged by C4 explosives on the night of April 10. Since only three out of six bombs on the poles were activated, the damage to the power grid was not as high as the Bt200-million worth of damages that could have been incurred if all the bombs went off.
Also on April 13, Ayutthaya's Bang Pa-in district police received a tip off that similar C4 explosives had gone off on April 10 damaging two high-voltage electric poles.