BC Tripathi, chairman of the Gas Authority of India Limited, told the Press Trust of India that "The reasons for the accident are not known yet. We are currently focused on rescue and relief operations."
A fire broke out in an 18-inch pipeline near a refinery run by the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Commission in Nagaram village.
The pipeline supplies gas to a local power plant. The Federal Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Padhan spoke with the BBC about the blast, saying it appears to have been caused by a "rupture" in the pipeline.
A "high-level probe" has been ordered, the minister said.
Fire from the explosion spread to the local village, engulfing houses. A senior official of the East Godavari district reported that the fire was under control, but that the death toll could rise.