Oil India Limited’s Baghjan well fire on for 50 days, likely to be doused by Friday

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Posted in Assam, Featured

Energy major Oil India Limited (OIL) on Wednesday said the blaze at the damaged Baghjan gas well in Assam has continued unabated for 50 days and the final push to extinguish the fire will begin soon.

A senior official of the PSU told PTI that the fire is expected to be doused by Friday.

Major debris from the well plinth area has been cleared and a detailed inspection was undertaken jointly by experts from OIL, ONGC and Singapore’s Alert Disaster Control to decide the next course of action.

“The main operation for capping and killing the well is yet to begin. The well continues to be on fire,” the oil exploration major said on its official Twitter handle.

Describing a report published in an English daily that the fire has been extinguished as “factually incorrect”, the company said the debris has been removed from the well site and preparations are on for the well capping operation.

Well number 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district has been spewing gas uncontrollably since May 27 and it caught fire on June 9, killing two firefighters of the OIL at the site.

Giving an update of its efforts to put out the massive flame, the OIL said, “Equipment being placed at Kill Pump area at the site… activities are on for carrying out the well capping and killing operation.”

Later, the company said in a statement that the water reservoirs are being filled up periodically and three heavy duty pumps of the ONGC and OIL are ready for use.

Meanwhile, protests and blockades were being staged by locals leading to heavy production loss in the last few months, the company said.

“Blockade still continues at Baghjan EPS. Due to the blockade, four gas wells and eight oil wells under Baghjan EPS had to be shut since July 7. As a result, approximately 1.5- 1.6 MMSCMD gas has gone out from the grid, which ultimately led to curtailment of gas supply to all consumers,” the statement said.

The OIL said there was a production loss of 441 MT of crude oil and 1.34 MMSCM of natural gas on Tuesday because of disruptions in 11 oil wells and four gas wells due to blockades.

“Cumulative production loss since May 27, 2020, due to bandhs and blockades: 12,657 MT crude oil, 23.38 MMSCM of natural gas,” the release said.

The PSU said various assessments and impact studies of the blowout as well as the blaze in villages and nearby forest areas by multiple agencies such as ERM India, TERI and CSIR-NEIST are going on at present.

About the relief and rehabilitation process, it said surveys for assessment of damage for compensation by the district administration are in progress in both Tinsukia and Doomdooma circles.

“Total number of families surveyed till July 14 in both Tinsukia and Doomdooma circles is 1,491,” it added.

Over 9,000 people were initially shifted to 13 relief camps after the well suffered a blowout in May and subsequently caught fire last month.

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