Assam Oil Well Still Leaking Gas A Week On, Singapore Experts Roped In

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A major blowout took place on May 27 at the gas producing well of Baghjan 5 under Baghjan Oilfield.


As a natural-gas producing well of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in upper Assam’s Tinsukia district continues to spew gas even after a week of a blowout, a team of experts from Singapore is scheduled to reach the state on Wednesday to plug the leak.

The development came after Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal called up Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday and sought help in getting foreign experts to repair the damage.

A major blowout took place on May 27 at the gas producing well in village Baghjan under Baghjan Oilfield.

At least 3,000 people in a 1.5-km radius from the oil well have been shifted to relief camps.

Earlier, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation or ONGC’s well-killing experts were flown in from Gujarat’s Vadodara, who had been in constant touch with the United States-based experts in the matter.

“The team will lend its expertise to plug the blowout. Attempts to cap the well had so far been made by at least two ONGC teams – from Vadodara and Nazira in Assam – OIL experts and a US-based well killing experts,” a source in the Assam chief minister’s office said.

Chief Minister Sarbananad Sonowal has been in constant touch with Dharmendra Pradhan over the phone apprising the latter about the condition of the well.

Mr Pradhan assured Mr Sonowal that, besides the experts’ team, a joint secretary from Union Petroleum Ministry has also been directed to go to the site to take stock of the situation, a statement from the Chief Minister’s office mentioned.

A blowout is an uncontrolled release of crude oil and/or natural gas from an oil well or gas well. This happens after pressure control systems fail.

Locals alleged that the blowout caused a massive oil spill in the Dibru-Saikhowa national park, about 3 km from the well, home to Gangetic River Dolphins and Hoolock Gibbons, both endangered as per IUCN red list.

Residents of village Baghjan alleged they had seen carcass of a Dolphin on the shores of Maguri Beel wetlands, part of the national park.

Just one kilometre from the field is Maguri-Motapung wetlands, an ecotourism site. State-owned sanctuary Dibru Saikhowa National Park is a biodiverse area renowned for migratory birds.

Mr Sonowal informed Union Minister Pradhan of the cascading effect of the incident on the surroundings and the residents in fringe areas. He also requested the Union Minister for adequate compensation for the victims, the source in the Chief Minister office said.

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