FILE PHOTO: Iranian workers walk at a unit of South Pars Gas field in Asalouyeh Seaport, north of Persian Gulf, Iran . REUTERS

DUBAI, Dec 9 (Reuters) – A gas condensate pipeline at a gas refinery in southwestern Iran exploded on Thursday after being hit by an excavator, but there were no casualties and the line was shut off, Iranian news agencies reported.

“There were no casualties and rescue and operations forces are at the scene of the accident and have cut off the line,” state broadcaster IRIB quoted the Parsian refinery’s head as saying.

The semi-official Fars news agency carried a similar report.

Mohammad Asgari, a spokesman for the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), said gas production was not affected by the accident, the semi-official YJC news agency reported.

Iran has the world’s second largest natural gas reserves but production has not kept pace with galloping demand for heavily subsidised gas, partly because of lack of investment and foreign partners as the economy faces U.S. sanctions.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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