New Delhi: As protesters blocked the approach road to the site of the well blowout in Baghjan, Assam, on Tuesday, the preparation for starting the well capping operation could not be done, an official spokesperson for state-run OIL (Oil India Limited) told PSU Watch. "We are now hoping that we will be able to complete the preparation work tomorrow. And undertake the well capping operation the day after," the person added. An official statement released by OIL on Tuesday said, "Local villagers have blocked the approach road to the site since this morning hampering the movement of the crew to site to begin work on time."
There have been multiple extensions in the deadline for capping the well. PSU Watch had earlier reported that the well was expected to be capped by July 15, however, the progress of the capping operation was impeded by heavy rainfall and floods in the area. Then the date was further extended to July 18. And now, OIL has said that it is hoping to cap the well on July 23. The well, owned by OIL, has been leaking gas uncontrollably since May 27 and the fire which erupted in June is still blazing, even though it has been confined to the mouth of the well.
At least 14 oil and gas wells under Baghjan EPS are shut in since July 7 because of blockades and work at two drilling locations and three workover locations continue to be under suspension since the beginning of June because of protests, said OIL. "Due to stoppage/blockades, there was a production loss of 420 MT of crude oil and 1.52 MMSCM of natural gas on July 20. Operations were disrupted at 13 oil wells and five gas wells. The cumulative production loss since May 27 due to bandhs and blockades stands at 15,247 MT of crude oil and 32.73 MMSCM of natural gas," said OIL in the statement.
"Excavation of Ramps and Cellar completed. The installation of side shuttering and de-watering of the ramp and cellar: Side shutters and mats have been made ready. The ramps, cellar area and work areas have been made ready. Constant water umbrella, dewatering of the ramp / cellar area, and civil works are being carried out to provide a safe working space for the personnel. Work on the wellhead for retrieval of 7 1/16" spool commenced and three studs were opened. All the equipment have been tested and are in place," said OIL.
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