New Delhi [India], June 11: Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday held a review meeting through video conferencing with the crisis management team located in Tinsukia district where a natural gas well of Oil India caught fire on Tuesday afternoon.
Pradhan and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also reviewed the situation on Tuesday with the Oil India, ONGC, international experts and senior ministry officials through video conferencing.
The Chief Minister had emphasized the need to allay the apprehensions of the people to loss of life and property and Pradhan assured him that there will be full cooperation from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) and Oil India Limited (OIL).
A Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas release said on Wednesday that OIL had informed that while carrying out workover operations in the gas producing well Baghjan-5 under Baghjan Oilfield in Tinsukia district, the well suddenly became active on May 27 and a blowout occurred.
It led to uncontrolled flow of gas from the well. OIL India sought support from ONGC, which immediately deployed their Crisis Management Team (CMT). OIL also mobilized a Singapore based firm M/s Alert Disaster Control.
The well was planned to be capped by following the advice of experts and taking all safety precautions.
The release said that while the clearing operations were going on, the well caught fire and it spread in an area of about 200 meters around the well site.
The cause of the fire has not been ascertained till now.
The release said that affected families will be given relief and compensation, as may be finalized with state government.
It said that except at the well plinth area, the fire around the site has mostly extinguished. However, the burning of gas at the well mouth will continue till the well is capped.
The release said the fire in around 200 meters periphery has completely burnt about 15 houses while another 10-15 houses have been partially affected.
“It is also reported that two firemen of Oil India Ltd have died. Preliminary information indicates that three firemen, two from OIL India, and one from ONGC jumped in a water pool nearby. While ONGC fireman got injured, two OIL India firemen could not save themselves. Their bodies have been retrieved,” the release said.
The debris of burnt rig, fire engines and other material around the well site will be removed before any operation can be started to cap the well, the release said, noting that arrangements of continuous water supply will have to be made before activities are undertaken at the site which is likely to take 5-6 days all the operations will take about four weeks to complete.
It said that around 1600 families have been evacuated from the nearby affected areas and are camped in relief camps set up at nearby safe areas.
OIL has decided to provide an amount of Rs. 30,000 to each of the affected families as an immediate relief.
The well is located in the vicinity of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and MaguriMotapungBeel, a wetland.
“OIL has engaged an accredited agency to carry out environment impact in and around Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Maguri-Motapung Beel,” the release said.
The Ministry is constantly reviewing and monitoring situation, it said. (ANI)