BoP stack after it was successfully placed at the well under fire Credit: Rishu Kalantri

Tinsukia: Public sector giant Oil India Limited has finally succeeded in capping the Baghjan well by placing Blowout Preventer (BoP) stack on the well head on Monday, 83 days after the blowout occured on May 27.

The development came after two attempts on July 31 and August 10 failed, and a day after 4 global experts arrived Duliajan and joined the capping operations.

Confirming the development, OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said that the BoP stack has been successfully installed and the Athey Wagon has been removed. “The next leg of operation to kill the well will initiate after laying of pipes which will take another 3 to 4 hours,” he said.

“Fluid and chemical mud will be pumped into the well to kill it and douse the fire. “Though it’s a risky operation, the fire will be likely doused within 24 hours if everything goes as planned,” added Hazarika.

BoP stack tied to Athey Wagon being installed on well head

“It was a critical operation to install BoP with extreme heat and fire hazard and required expertise,” a source said, adding, “Due to high sound level, sign language is key to such operations. Hence, a known team, who are familiar with each other with such previous experience, was needed and the decision to fly in 4 more global experts was taken.”

On August 5, four global experts, including the three – Athony Stephens Reynolds, Doug Dallas, both from the US and Craig Neil Duncan from Australia, who were injured in an accidental fire at the blowout well, returned back to their countries. The fourth member to go was Edward Harris McLeod.

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Earlier, on July 31, OIL undertook its maiden attempt to install BoP which failed after the 90-feet Athey Wagon, having a testing capacity of around 20 tonne, lifting the BoP toppled.

The second attempt failed midway after inching closer to cap the well ten days later. On August 10, OIL succeeded by placing BoP on well head when suddenly one of the bull wires (out of two) attached to the Wagon snapped while alignment was in progress, completing OIL to remove the BoP.

The “blowout” occured at the gas well number 5 at Baghjan oilfield, at a close proximity of Maguri-Motapung Beel and Dibru Saikhowa National Park, while work over operations was 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 is on fire since June 9.

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