Efforts to douse blaze at Oil India’s Baghjan gas well hampered due to flooding

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GUWAHATI, June 28 (PTI): PSU major Oil India Ltd (OIL) on Sunday said its efforts to douse a blaze at its damaged gas well in Baghjan have been severely hampered with rising floodwater level at the site.

Although the preparation work at the main well site was completely hit, some civil works were carried out during the day for creating passages to it, the company said in a statement.

The well number 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district has been spewing gas uncontrollably for the last 33 days, following a blowout on May 27, and it caught fire on June 9, killing two of OIL’s firefighters.

The company said all the rivers in and around Baghjan are rising rapidly, while the Dangori river is overflowing.

“Due to heavy rainfall, the area has been inundated. All connecting roads to the site have been submerged with floodwater,” the company said, adding that the bridge on the crucial Doomdooma-Baghjan road was broken, while the Plastic Park road has been closed by the Tinsukia district authority for vehicles.

Floodwater has entered debris and CMT water pump areas, making the site “unsafe for carrying out operations”, it said.

The company further said the approach road via Talap Daisajan-Kordoiguri-Badarkhati was also affected at many places due to flood.

“A work is underway for exploring an approach road to the well site,” OIL said, adding that the Indian Meteorological Department has forecast “heavy to very heavy rainfall till June 30 in the area”.

Despite inclement weather conditions, some civil works are being carried out on a war footing at the site for creating safe routes and passages in and around the well which is under a massive blaze, it said.

The energy major had on Saturday suspended all ongoing works to douse the blaze at the gas well as floodwater inundated the site and the pumps installed to put out the fire were submerged.

OIL said various assessments and impact studies of the blowout as well as the blaze in villages and nearby forest areas by multiple agencies have also been hampered due to flood.

Talking about the relief and rehabilitation process, the PSU major said the surveys to assess the damage for compensation by a committee constituted by the district administration have been hit due to heavy rainfall and flood.

“Assessment for 63 families was completed yesterday amidst bad weather in Doomdooma circle, taking the total number of families surveyed till date in Doomdooma and Tinsukia circles to 603,” it added.

Over 9,000 people have been staying in 13 relief camps following the blowout and the subsequent fire that broke out in the gas well earlier this month.

The company said that there was an output drop of 88 MT of crude oil and 0.13 MMSCM of natural gas on Saturday due to disruptions in 13 oil wells and a gas well.

“Cumulative production loss since May 27, 2020 due to bandhs and blockades was 8,746 MT crude oil, 11.25 MMSCM of natural gas,” it added.

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