The 59,000 kgs equipment boarded the An124 heavy-lift aircraft - the world's largest cargo carrier from Russia Credit: Facebook image

The snubbing unit from Canada, which took off from Calgary airport on October 21, landed at Kolkata airport on Wednesday night from where it will make a 14- day long road journey to reach Baghjan in Assam’s Tinsukia district which witnessed a gas well blowout on May 27 this year.

The 59,000 kgs equipment boarded the An124 heavy-lift aircraft – the world’s largest cargo carrier from Russia.

On a side note, the An124 (ANTONOV) aircraft is the world largest civilian transport aircraft and is also the world’s heaviest. So much so that both Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati and Mohanbari Airport in Dibrugarh is unable to handle it.

The An124 (ANTONOV) aircraft is the world largest civilian transport aircraft and is also the world’s heaviest

Meanwhile, the “blowout” occurred at the gas well number 5 at Baghjan oilfield, at the proximity of Maguri-Motapung Beel and Dibru Saikhowa National Park, while workover operations were underway to produce gas from new sand 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. Thirteen days later the well caught fire.

Talking to this correspondent, Oil India Limited spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said, the airports at Guwahati and Dibrugarh back in Assam are not equipped to handle such massive cargo, hence, it was decided to land it at Kolkata airport. “The unit will be driven to Baghjan.”

“The snubbing unit will take almost 14-days to reach Baghjan as the trailer will travel only during the night,” Hazarika said, adding, “It will likely take another 2 weeks after the snubbing unit reaches Baghjan to kill the well.”

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The complex operation will include a total of eight foreign experts besides the OIL and ONGC crisis management team. “M/s Alert Damage Control has tied up with Alberta-based Piston Well Services which has moved in its snubbing unit along with four crew members. Four other experts from Alert are already camping at Duliajan,” added Hazarika.

On September 13, the Public sector giant OIL succeeded in “restoration of diversion of gas” from blowout well to Baghjan Early Production System (EPS) and two flare pits, after a failed attempt a week ago due to gas leakage was observed at the thread of the wellhead casing, 97 days after the well caught fire. It also started partial production from a blowout well, creating history.

The success of the operation finally paved way for the snubbing operation to kill the well.

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A flare pit is an earthen pit excavated adjacent to drilling wells to vent and burn gas and oil produced from the well. In snubbing operations, the well is killed at the bottom by inserting pipes and pumping mud through this new pipe to stop the gas from rising to the surface.

The Baghjan blowout is continuing since 169th day during which OIL has seen several ups and down and lost three men including two firefighters and a young engineer.

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