A jet fuel tank owned by Thai Petroleum Pipeline (Thappline) in Pathum Thani, Thailand, has been struck by a grenade attack.
An M79 grenade hit the tank, capable of holding 22 million litres of highly flammable jet fuel and started a fire.
Workers told police when they heard the explosion at the fuel depot they rushed to the scene to see flames shooting up the side of tank number T-401D, which supplies fuel to Suvarnabhumi airport.
The grenade caused a 4cm hole in the tank, but failed to ignite the main body of fuel because of protective double layering. At the time of the attack, the tank held only 9 million litres. The hole was about 1.5 metres from the ground. Thappline operates 19 oil tanks at the site.
The fire was extinguished in about an hour and the hole has been plugged. There were no injuries. Police believe the assailants fired the grenade from a motorway 200m away.
Energy Minister Wannarat Channukul has asked for the cooperation of police and oil and gas operators to increase security measures at their facilities.
PTT is the largest shareholder in Thappline, holding 33.19% of its shares, followed by Esso with 20.66%, Shell with 14.87%, and the rest under the control of major oil companies operating in Thailand.
Auttapol Rerkpiboon, executive VP of corporate communications at PTT, said the oil company had called an urgent meeting of executives from all companies in the group to discuss measures to protect its facilities.
Closed-circuit cameras, security guards, fire alarms and fire extinguishers as well as mobile units are being prepared to be ready around the clock. That is all we can do, he says.