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7 days after well blowout in Assam’s Baghjan, gas still flowing uncontrollably: OIL

Seven days after a well blowout took place at Baghjan, OIL said that the gas is still flowing uncontrollably and has spread to a larger area

Seven days after a well blowout took place at Baghjan, OIL said that the gas is still flowing uncontrollably and has spread to a larger area.
Seven days after a well blowout took place at Baghjan, OIL said that the gas is still flowing uncontrollably and has spread to a larger area.
  • Around 1,610 families have been evacuated from the nearby affected areas and are camped in four relief camps

  • Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Joint Secretary Amar Nath has also reached Duliajan and has visited the well site

New Delhi: Seven days after a well blowout took place at Baghjan in Tinsukia district, state-run OIL (Oil India Limited) said on Wednesday that the gas is still flowing uncontrollably and has spread to a larger area, forcing the authorities to evacuate more people. A well blowout, which means an uncontrolled escape of crude oil or natural gas from a well, happened at OIL’s Baghjan well on May 27. OIL had outsourced the operation of the gas-producing well near the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, a biodiversity hotspot, to a Gujarat based E&P company, John Energy Private Limited.

OIL engaged Singapore-based firm for controlling blowout

In a statement released on Wednesday, OIL said that it has sought the services of a Singapore-based firm — Alert Disaster Control — and two experts are expected to reach the site on June 4. Currently, pumping of water to the well through the casing valve is in progress to minimise the chances of fire. “All safety and security measures are being monitored continuously to protect surrounding villagers and their properties, working teams. Protection of the environment would be paramount while carrying out the Well Control Operation,” OIL said.

1,610 families have been evacuated

Until June 2, a total of 650 families were evacuated and lodged in three relief camps with the help of the Tinsukia District Administration. However, on Wednesday, the number of families evacuated rose to 1,610. “Around 1,610 families have been evacuated from the nearby affected areas and are camped in four relief camps set up at Baghjan Dighulturrang LP School, St Joseph School- Baghjan Tea Estate, Gateline LP School-Dighultarrang and No. 1 Baghjan Gaon LP School,” OIL said in the statement.

“All necessary supports for stay, food (including baby food), water, toilets, electricity and medicines have been provided at the relief camps with support from district administration and local organisations,” it added.

Petroleum Joint Secretary visits site to review situation

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Joint Secretary Amar Nath has also reached Duliajan and has visited the well site on Wednesday. He also held a review meeting at DC’s office with Assam Tea Tribe Welfare Minister Sanjoy Kishan and Tinsukia Deputy Commissioner, SP and officials from the Forest Department and the State Pollution Control Board.

Congress Lok Sabha MP says situation serious, seepage spreading

In a letter to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday, Congress Lok Sabha Member Gaurav Gogoi said, “I would like to inform you that it is a serious situation for Dibru Saikhowa National Park. The oil seepage is spreading to a large area of the wetland, which is directly and inextricably linked to Dibru Saikhowa National Park, which is providing a secure home to wide-ranging fauna, including birds and aquatic species.”

“The floating crude oil is a definite threat to the area’s rich biodiversity... I request you to pay an urgent visit to the Baghjan oil field to inspect the affected region and take appropriate action against those accountable for the leakage,” Gogoi said. He also asked Pradhan to announce an interim financial package to protect the environment and address the livelihood issues of the local population.

OIL has served a showcause notice to the Gujarat-based firm which was looking after the operation of the well site. The company is yet to respond to the notice.