PSU major Oil India on Wednesday said its effort to douse the blaze at the damaged gas well at Baghjan in Assam, which is spewing gas for 71 days, is in its final stages. As part of its final preparation to cap the well the repair of the 90-ft ‘athey wagon’, the equipment for fighting oil-field fires, is on like fabrication of alternate axle and modification of the secondary section of the boom, Oil India Ltd (OIL) said in a statement.
“The civil works for strengthening of the pathway to the cellar at the well site is completed. All efforts are being taken to control the well at the earliest,” it added. On July 31 an attempt to shut the damaged gas well number 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district faced a setback when the wagon or hydraulic lift used to put a lid on the mouth gave in and toppled over.
The company said that all the six high discharge water pumps are operational at the site for spraying water to the well head. The well has been spewing gas uncontrollably for the last 71 days since May 27. It caught fire on June 9 killing two of OIL’s firefighters at the site.
On July 22, three foreign experts from Singaporean firm Alert Disaster Control, which was invited to assist OIL and ONGC experts for putting out the blaze, received burn injuries while they were removing a spool from the well head. OIL said it continues to face protests and blockades across many of its wells and field locations, leading to heavy production loss in the last few months.
It said that due to blockades there was a production loss of 652 MT of crude oil and 1.53 MMSCM of natural gas on Tuesday because of disruptions in several oil and gas wells. “Cumulative production loss since May 27, 2020 due to bandh s and blockades: 22,112 MT crude oil, 52.53 MMSCM of natural gas,” the release said.
OIL said that various assessments and impact studies of the blowout as well as the blaze in villages and nearby forest areas by multiple agencies such as TERI, CSIR-NEIST and IIT- Guwahati are on at present. Talking about the relief and rehabilitation process, OIL informed that the 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 August 4 in both Tinsukia and Doomdooma circles is 2,736, 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.