Tinsukia: A gas well “blowout” at an existing well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in Assam’s Tinsukia district on Wednesday has left natural gas leaping out to a height of above 20 feet, prompting the district administration to evacuate at least 25 families residing near the well site.
The incident, that took place at Baghjan, around 42 km from Tinsukia and almost 500 metres from Dibru Saikhowa National Park, has created panic causing the employees stationed at the well to flee in fear of fire.
Talking to EastMojo, the PRO of OIL Tridiv Hazarika said that the gas well blowout happened at Baghjan well no 5 while work over operations were going on to produce gas from a new sand (oil & gas bearing reservoir) at a depth of 3,729 metres.
“Earlier, the well was producing around 1 lakh standard cubic metre per day (SCMD) of gas from a depth of 3,870 metres,” he said.
“Around 10.30 am today, the producing well of Baghjan 5 under Baghjan Oilfield of Oil India Limited suddenly became very active as a consequence, the well started releasing natural gas in an uncontrolled manner,” added Hazarika.
Hazarika said, OIL has mobilised men and equipment at the site to control the well.
A press release issued by the OIL said that all arrangements are being made now to bring the well under control as per plan — adequate water spraying, taking all adequate safety measure and installing blow out preventer (BOP).
Over a dozen fire brigades from OIL, BCPL, Assam Gas Company, IOC, Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Limited has been rushed to the site.
“We are taking care to ensure there is no fire,” he added.
According to sources, the rig CH9 belonged to private company John Energy. “All employees stationed were not from OIL.”
Diplov Chutia of Green Vision NE, an NGO working for environment and wildlife, said, the site falls barely 500 metres short of Dibru Saikhowa National Park and is just adjacent to world famous Maguri Motapung Beel.
“Today’s incident has once again highlighted the danger oil and gas exploration pose to the nature, wildlife and national park.”
“We demand that the environmental clearance accorded to oil & gas exploration projects inside the eco-sensitive zone for Dibru Saikhowa National Park be withdrawn immediately,” added Chutia.
Recently, Oil India Limited had published an advertisement stating that the ministry of environment, forest and climate change has accorded environmental clearance for extension drilling and testing of Hydrocarbons at seven locations under Dibru Saikhowa National Park, North west of Baghjan in Tinsukia district. The clearance, amid lockdown, came as a shocker for all those concerned about environment and wildlife.
Circle officer of Doomdooma, Nandita Roy Gohain said, “No casualties have been reported so far. We have evacuated at least 25 families from near the site area.”
“The deputy commissioner of Tinsukia Bhaskar Pegu and superintendent of police Shiladitya Chetia are holding a high-level meet at the incident site,” Gogoi said, adding, “We are planning to move out more families as the blowout is yet to be brought under control.”