Work on plugging the natural gas well in Assam’s Baghjan where a fire has been raging since June 9, resumed on Thursday, a day after three foreign experts suffered burn injuries at the site following an explosion.
The experts from a Singapore-based firm suffered minor burn injuries on Wednesday while removing the tubing head spool of the wellhead (as part of efforts to plug the blow out) following which work was suspended for the day.
The natural gas well belonging to Oil India Limited (OIL) in Tinsukia district had a blow out (uncontrolled release of gas or oil) on May 27 while work over operation to locate a new reservoir was underway. It caught fire two weeks later killing two firefighters and damaging over a dozen houses and has been blazing since then.
“Work at the site resumed on Thursday. Personnel from OIL and other agencies are at the site and final preparation for placing the capping stack is underway,” Jayant Bormudoi, senior manager (corporate communication) OIL, said.
Works related to plugging the well like excavation of ramps and cellar, opening of wellhead flange and six high discharge water pumps needed to spray water to the wellhead while capping operation is underway, are ready at the site, OIL said in a statement.
“The three experts from Alert, (the Singapore-based firm engaged by OIL to plug the blow out) who sustained minor burn injury on Wednesday while removing the tubing head spool, are doing perfectly all right,” the statement said.
According to OIL officials, work on plugging the blow out and putting out the fire are at a final stage and are expected to be over within the next few days.
“The next task is to reinstall the blow out preventer (BOP), a three-ton equipment, on the well head. Once the BOP is placed, it is described as capping of the well. That will be followed by killing of the blow out,” OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said.
He informed that capping doesn’t mean that the gas will stop coming out of the well and the fire will be extinguished immediately. A valve on the BOP will inject a fluid inside the well, which will neutralize the pressure of the well slowly and push the gas back from the well into the reservoir.
“The operation between capping of the well and killing the blow out can take 2-3 days. The gas was being drawn from a depth of around 3.5 km so the fluid has to fill up that entire column,” Hazarika said. The entire operation is expected to be over by the end of this week.