Guwahati: As gas continued to flow uncontrollably and a fire raged on at a natural gas well of OIL in Assam’s Baghjan, the Army on Monday joined efforts to douse the blaze after the civil administration sought its help in constructing a bridge over an adjoining water body. The state-run Oil India Limited (OIL), in the meantime, continued to face public ire over the tragedy and its production was getting affected in a big way with the company losing 5,386 MT of crude oil and 7.04 MMSCM of natural gas output in the last 20 days due to bandhs and blockades.
“In view of the urgency of the operation to control the well, Bhaskar Pegu, Deputy Commissioner, Tinsukia requested the service of the Army (2nd Mountain Division) to construct a bridge of around 150 metre length over a water body adjacent to the blowout well,” Oil India Ltd (OIL) said in a statement.
Accepting the request of the civil administration, the Army is carrying out mobilisation of material and personnel to the Baghjan site from Misamari and Tezu, it added.
OIL said testing is complete for one of the two high-discharge water pumps of capacity 2,500 GPM to be used for well control operation.
Besides, the civil work of extension of the second water reservoir of 12,000 KL capacity, development of debris lay down, bunkhouse and kill pump area are in progress.”Fabrication job of heat shields required for reducing heat hazards to working personnel at site is in progress at OIL’s engineering workshop at Duliajan. Joint inspection of equipment mobilised from ONGC by Alert and ONGC team at OIL yard is in progress,” the company said in a release said.
It also informed that the vehicles carrying heavy equipment from ONGC’s Rajahmundry facility are in transit.Talking about production loss due to stir by the locals and some groups, OIL said there was an output cut of 487 MT of crude oil and 0.45 MMSCM of natural gas as reported on Sunday.
“Cumulative production loss since May 27, 2020 due to bandhs and blockades: 5386 MT Crude oil, 7.04 MMSCM of natural gas,” it added.Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met senior scientists from IIT-Guwahati and CSIR-North East Institute of Science and Technology (NEIST) and requested them to start their job of conducting a study on the tremors at Baghjan following the blowout on emergency basis.
OIL said a visit was carried out by a team from NEIST on Sunday to identify the location for installing broadband Seismographs at various radial distances from the well.”Five broadband Seismographs will be deployed by CSIR- NEIST, Jorhat at five recording sites for data to be recorded tentatively for 7-10 days. Locations have been identified and preliminary civil work for deployment of the instruments is in progress,” it added.
Besides, a team from TERI, Delhi is likely to arrive on Tuesday to measure and monitor the noise and air quality in the area, which is suspected to be polluted due to spewing of gas and condensate droplets for several days.
During the day, OIL Chairman and MD Sushil Chandra Mishra handed over cheques of Rs 30 lakh each to the wives of the company’s deceased firefighters — Tikheswar Gohain and Durlov Gogoi — under the company’s social security scheme.
Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna held a meeting of various departments to initiate the process to implement a number of schemes announced by Sonowal on his visit to Baghjan, along with Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday.
Leader of the Opposition in Assembly Debabrata Saikia wrote to Assam Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami requesting him to urgently lead an all-party delegation of legislators on a fact-finding tour to the affected areas.
Saikia alleged that in view of the adverse situation created by the central government’s recent steps to allow fresh mining and drilling activities in various National Parks, biosphere reserves and other eco-sensitive zones of Assam, there have been adverse reactions and protests among the people.
He said in a statement that “immediate intervention of elected members of the House has become imperative because this sensitive issue would have considerable impact on the political, economic and social scenarios of Assam in the time to come”.
The well no. 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district of Assam has been spewing gas uncontrollably for the last 20 days and it caught fire on June 9, killing two of OIL’s firefighters at the site.
The blaze at the well is so massive that it can be seen from a distance of more than 30 kms with thick black smoke going up several metres high, endangering the local biodiversity in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park following the blowout on May 27.
Though there is no fire in the periphery of the well site at present, the company has declared an area up to 1.5 km of radius as “red zone” to avoid any untoward incident and damage to the general public.
At present five inquiries are taking place to find out the facts — a three-member probe by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, a one-member probe by Assam Chief Minister and an internal five-member inquiry by the OIL.
Besides, two more crucial independent investigations of technical nature are being carried out by Directorate General Of Mines Safety (DGMS) and Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD).