Duliajan (Assam): The theft of an X-mas tree and a fluid leak that followed at a well in a depleted reservoir in Bordubi area has sent Oil India Ltd’s (OIL) Crisis Management Team (CMT) in a tizzy to cap the well once again in Duliajan, Assam. Reminiscent of the devastating Baghjan gas leak of 2020, the incident has put the locals and the authorities at the newly-minted Maharatna PSU on alert. Speaking to PSU Watch, OIL spokesperson Bhairab Bhuyan said, “So far, only water and sand is leaking out of the well. No gas. And an OIL Crisis Management Team has swung into action and is trying to cap the well.”
The theft of an X-mas tree atop a well in Bordubi area has caused the leak. The X-mas tree is an apparatus which is an assembly of valves, spools, pressure gauges and chokes fitted to the wellhead of a completed well to control oil and gas production.
In a statement released on Friday, OIL said, “Reportedly, miscreants have completely cut and stole the entire X-Mass tree above the adapter of OIL’s well no. NHK-67 at Gazal Basti near Duliajan leading to uncontrolled flow of well fluids, mainly water, from the well head. The incident was reported at around 9:30 pm on 19th October, 2023. OIL has lodged an FIR with the local police and informed the District Administration Authority.”
“Located within a depleted reservoir in Bordubi area, the well was in shut-in condition since 2016,” said OIL. The well was being developed under the Production Enhancement Contract regime with a private contractor, KIRI Energy Private Ltd of Gujarat, said the OIL spokesperson.
“The Crisis Management Team (CMT) of Oil India Ltd has been mobilised, while fire tenders have been stationed at the site and necessary measures are being taken up on an emergent basis to cap the well. An on-site task force is coordinating the activities on the ground so as to control the water flow, cap and restore the well in close coordination with the local authority,” said OIL in the statement.
Even though the leak is not dangerous right now, locals in the area are reported to be living in constant fear, suspecting a gas leak. According to local news reports, locals have been scared to turn on their gas stoves since last night fearing a gas leak and have been surviving on only biscuits and water.
The anxiety can be attributed to the fact that even though the leak isn't dangerous right now, it is reminiscent of the 2020 Baghjan gas leak at one of OIL’s wells in Baghjan, Assam, which began in May 2020 and was capped only in December 2020. The gas blowout in OIL’s Baghjan oilfield in Assam’s Tinsukia district destroyed around 55 percent of the biodiversity in the area and caused a loss of Rs 25,000 crore, said an inquiry report.