Nearly two months after an explosion rocked the Oil India Limited-operated Baghjan 5 well in Assam’s Tinsukia district, the fire continues to rage even as the energy major has been trying to plug the blowout. In the latest incident, three foreign experts who were involved in the control operations reportedly sustained burn injuries after another explosion on July 22.
“The three experts were involved in the opening of the wellhead flange, a very precise operation,” Tridip Hazarika, OIL spokesperson, had explained in a statement released on Wednesday. He added, “When they were in the final stage of the operation, a portion of the wellhead suddenly caught fire.”
Meanwhile, as per local reports, the capping operations resumed at Baghjan on Friday, July 24. Crew members of OIL, ONGC, Alert, Schlumberger and other contractors are at site and the final preparation for placing capping stack is underway, NE Now reported.
“The three experts from Alert, who sustained minor burn injury yesterday while removing the tubing head spool, are doing perfectly alright. Today morning OIL doctors visited them in guest house and confirmed good recovery,” an OIL press statement stated.
The gas well in Baghjan oil field had caught fire on June 9, after spewing gas and oil condensate for nearly two weeks since May 27. The explosion and the damaged well had caused extensive damage to the nearby Dibru Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve and the Maguri Motapung wetland, as well as forced nearly 11,000 people living in the vicinity to be shifted to relief camps. The people have been living in the camps ever since, even though the number of people in the camps has decreased according to the district authorities.
Following the first explosion, foreign experts had been brought in to control the fire and plug the blowout. Even though the task was expected to be completed by July 7, heavy floods caused by continuous rain had affected the ongoing work. The area near the well had been inundated and a bridge and roads leading to the site had been damaged due to the flood waters, as per reports.
Last month, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted an eight-member committee of experts to probe the blowout, subsequent fire and the damage it has caused to humans, wildlife and environment.
Various assessment and impact studies of the blowout and the blaze in the nearby villages and ecologically sensitive areas have already been carried out by multiple agencies including ERM, OIL had said. Post monitoring of the well will be carried out after capping of the well.
A team from IIT Guwahati has also completed data collection for thermal imaging and sound measurement at required areas under guidance of district officials and OIL team, as per a press statement released by OIL. “Survey for assessment of damage for compensation in both Tinsukia and Doomdooma circle is in progress. Total number of families surveyed till Wednesday both combine Doomdooma and Tinsukia circle is 1,906,” the statement added.