OIL rushes Singapore experts to control Assam blowout; no casualty
The Baghjan blowout is the second in 15 years at an OIL installation. It had taken a few top experts from the United States, including oil well firefighter Red Adair, to control the earlier blowout at Dikom in Dibrugarh district after 45 days
New Delhi: With an oil well in Assam continuing to leak gas uncontrollably after a blowout more that a week ago, state-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) is rushing experts from Singapore-based disaster management firm as it doubles down on efforts to bring the well under control. The firm, which evacuated about 2,500 people from villages near the blowout site at Baghjan in Tinsukia district to three relief camps at a safe distance, has so far ensured that there are no injuries.”There is no incident of any fire, casualty, damage or injury,” the company said in a statement.A blowout, which means an uncontrolled escape of crude oil or natural gas from a well, happened at OIL’s Bhaghjan-5 well on May 27.The company immediately set up a disaster control centre and mobilised experts and material from within and from sister PSU, ONGC, to control the well. Its top management, including Chairman and Managing Director Sushil Chandra Mishra, got involved in the crisis management efforts right from day one.A continuous spray of cold water is being used to cool the leaking natural gas to prevent it from igniting and causing an explosion.The Baghjan blowout is the second in 15 years at an OIL installation. It had taken a few top experts from the United States, including oil well firefighter Red Adair, to control the earlier blowout at Dikom in Dibrugarh district after 45 days.OIL is continuously ‘water-jacketing’ the well to avert any eventuality, the statement said. “Gas and air quality are being monitored at constant interval”.A Singapore-based firm Alert Disaster Control is being mobilised and two experts are expected to reach site soon.”All safety and security measures are continuously being monitored to protect surrounding villagers and their properties,” it said. “Protection of the environment would be paramount while carrying out the well control operation.”The technical team of OIL and crisis management team (CMT) of ONGC, Vadodara and Nazira are jointly engaged to try and control the blowout.It is planned to make an attempt to place a valve over the well hole. “The first attempt to control the well is likely to take place on Friday/Saturday,” it said.Water is being pumped continuously on to the well head, OIL said adding that the firm was laying a pipeline to bring water from a nearby river.John Energy Pvt Ltd, a Gujarat-based exploration and production firm had been outsourced the operation of the gas-producing well near the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, a biodiversity hotspot.Baghjan village, where the rig is located, sits next to the protected DibruSaikhowa national park and MaguriBeel wetlands, which is home to dozens of species of migratory birds, rare wildlife and aquatic species.OIL said 650 families comprising about 2,500 people have been evacuated from villages near the blowout site to three relief camps at a safe distance.”All necessary support for stay, food, baby food, water, toilets, electricity and medical have been provided at the relief camps with support from the district administration and local organisations,” the statement said.