The lit-up sky seen from Tinsukia on Tuesday evening

Tinsukia: In what seemed to be one of the biggest developments of the day, reports emerged that public sector giant Oil India Limited (OIL), which is battling a blowout well fire for the past 36 days, has finally succeeded in bringing the fire under control on Tuesday.

However, the report turned out to be false during a fact check by EastMojo.

A picture of an OIL official going very close to the well, with little fire seen, gave an impression that the fire has been brought under control.

However, OIL chief managing director Sushil Chandra Mishra termed the report incorrect.

Mishra said, in technical terms, the fire at the blowout well is already under control. “However, due to water jacketing, the intensity of the fire goes down to the extent that one can go close to the well,” Mishra said, adding, “Today, we went close to the well head.”

Long shot image of the fire site tells a different story
Water blanket creates an optical illusion from certain angles / distances

Describing the picture, OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said, the photograph shows an incomplete picture. “The photo is a tight close up of the well head where due to constant water umbrella no fire is seen. But the fire is seen just little above.”

“lt is because the gas is gushing out at a very high pressure and hence there is hardly any oxygen at the lower part for combustion to take place,” Hazarika said, adding “If one looks at the long shot of the blowout well, showing the lower part of the well, and the upper region, the story is completely different as flames can be seen rising High,” added Hazarika.

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Hazarika said, the fire gets engulfed by the water jacket, once after 5 pm when the operations are called off for the day, the fire is again seen very prominently.

The “blowout” occurred at the gas well number 5 at Baghjan oilfield while work over operations was going on to produce gas from new sand (oil and gas bearing reservoir) at a depth of 3,729 metres, leaving natural gas and condensate oil gush to hundred feet of in the air and spill all around. The well caught fire on June 9 and continues to rage.

Hazarika said, good amount of progress of debris removal activities were achieved yesterday. “The carrier and major part of pipes have been removed. With this, all major debris has been removed except the sub-structure of the Rig and a few drill pipes and some miscellaneous items in and around the cellar area. Removal of the debris has been started again from since morning today. At the time of reporting, all debris have been removed from the well plinth and small items are being swept away.”

“We can see the capping operation anytime in next three to four days,” added Hazarika.

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