Experts including those from Singapore have submitted a detailed draft plan to control the fire in a gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia district to the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gases, PSU major Oil India Limited (OIL) said in a statement.
The plan submitted to the ministry was drawn up to cap the well by a team of experts from M/s Alert, Singapore, along with those of ONGC and OIL, while the first load of equipment mobilized from ONGC-Sibsagar has reached Duliajan and will be sent to the site after inspection by the experts.
Vehicle carrying equipment from ONGC-Rajamundry is also coming to Assam.
The blaze at OIL’s Baghjan gas well, which began on June 9 following a major blowout on May 27, was still raging but the extent of it has been contained to the well with fire tenders kept ready at the site to arrest any incidents of flash fire, the statement said.
Two firefighters of OIL died after the well caught fire on Tuesday.
Production and operations in gas wells and oil wells of OIL were affected by blockades put up people at several areas of the district.
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the prevailing situation at a high-level meeting here to assess the extent of the damage caused by the fire and its effect on the ecology of the surrounding areas.
He directed the Tinsukia district administration to conduct a detailed assessment of the damage and provide medical and other assistance to the people staying in relief camps, according to a senior official of the Chief Minister’s Office.
In addition to existing 12 relief camps, two more have been set up for evacuated villagers. Sonowal also asked the district administration to extend full cooperation to OIL, ONGC and other agencies in their efforts to douse the fire in the gas well. Additional Chief Secretary Maninder Singh and Additional Principal Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) M K Yadava have left for Baghjan following the chief ministers directive. Singh will conduct an inquiry into the Baghjan well fire incident and submit a report within 15 days, while Yadava was asked to study the effects of the incident on the environment and ecology of the surrounding areas. The Tinsukia deputy commissioner was also arranging for land required for debris laydown area, site refuge and control area and additional water reservoir.
Testing of pumps, engines and auxiliary equipment and laying of delivery lines required for sourcing of water from Dangori River are in progress, the OIL statement said. Police forces have been deployed at the site by the district administration and no untoward incident of law and order has been reported so far at the site, an official said.
However, production and operations have been stopped or disrupted at 66 oil wells and 13 gas wells by students organisations and local people at Makum, Barekuri, Hapjan, Lankashi, Nagajan, Hebeda and Dhakul areas in the district, the OIL statement said. Crude transportation through bowsers was carried out with the help of security at several places while some bowsers were stranded due to blockades by local people, it said. Loss of 638 metric tonne of crude oil production from 66 oil wells and 0.46 Million Metric Standard Cubic Meter Per Day (MMSCMD) of natural gas from three gas wells were reported till Thursday due to the blockades, the company said. Following reports of tremors in nearby villages, OIL has contacted North East Institute of Science and Technology (NEIST), Jorhat to carry out a study to see if there was any induced seismicity due to the blowout, the statement added. The billowing smoke from the well could be seen from a distance of more than 30 kilometres, and the gas blowout for nearly a fortnight had endangered the biodiversity in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and the Maguri-Motapung wetland.
Two officials of the OIL have been suspended for alleged negligence of duty at the gas well site, while a show cause notice has been issued to John Energy Pvt Ltd, the outsourced private operator of the well.
A PIL was filed at the Gauhati High Court on Wednesday against OIL, John Energy, the Centre and the state government for the PSU major’s Baghjan gas well blowout and successive fire, which have damaged life and properties in the area.
An FIR has also been registered against OIL and John Energy for the blowout.