H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah (right) with Mohamed Khalifa Turki Al Sobai at the annual general meeting of Woqod yesterday.Abdul Basit
BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
Doha: Giving a new twist to the Istanbul Restaurant blast theories, a senior official of Woqod claimed yesterday that the 1,000-litre gas tank at the restaurant was not the cause of the explosion and it was nearly intact even after it fell down on the floor from the rooftop.
“We are not part of this incident. Our tank was safe. We pumped out nearly 500 litres of gas after the explosion,” said Mohammad Khalifa Turki Al Sobai, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Woqod.
Al Sobai, said: “Unfortunately it happened, and we are sorry for that, but what I would like to say that our tank was on the rooftop, and after the explosion it fell down to the floor, and the tank was full of gas, which we pumped out.”
Al Sobai, while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the company’s AGM, added: “We have about 2,800 similar park-tanks of various capacities across the country, but we never came across such incidents because everybody was using them in a proper way. What happened in the restaurant blast is a matter that is still under investigation.”
He said that Woqod, due to safety concerns, prefers to place all such tanks on roof tops to avoid any damage from traffic and pedestrians.
“We have been providing such services over the last seven years. Usually we try to advise customers about the handling of LPG gas tanks and cylinders, but it is not possible to control everybody,” he added.
Asked if he was sure the gas tank did not cause the blast, he insisted: “No, it did not explode, but the connection pipe was broken and some gas leaked through the pipe which caught fire, which was eventually contained with the help of Civil Defence and our staff, then the valve was shut. After that there was no pressure in the tank so it did not explode.”
He said that Woqod practises stringent regulation, from the installation of tanks to quality control, inspection, approval and other things. There is no problem on our part, but if somebody abuses the system, we cannot do much.”
On the possible cause of the blast, he said: “I actually have no idea what went wrong. There might have been some leak in the system, or somebody must have kept an oven open.”
Al Sobai, the outgoing vice-chairman, of the company said: “The capacity of the tank was 1,000 litres, but it had nearly 750 litres of gas at the time of accident, and we pumped about 500 litres after the incident.”
Commenting on reports that the tank was filled just 30 minutes before the blast, he said: “That’s true, but it was not the first time we filled a tank. We fill these tanks after a gap of every two days for several years. The incident did not happen because we filled it. It happened because of something else that we don’t know.”