Fire at Indian natural gas well extinguished five months after initial blowout
17 November 2020
An Oil India Limited (OIL) natural gas well in the state of Assam which suffered a blowout in May before erupting into flames has now been extinguished. Three people have died and several have been injured over the last five months during operations to tackle the blaze and plug the leaking well.
In a statement posted on social media, OIL said the well was under control and the fire had been doused completely. There is no pressure in the well which was observed for 24 hours to see if any gas migration or pressure build-up occurred, the company added. An operation to abandon the well has now begun.
A team of experts from Singapore-based Alert Disaster Control was brought in to help tackle the situation in June. An explosion occurred at the well just one day after the team arrived while they were conducting initial planning operations to plug the well.
The leak from the rig at the Baghjan oilfield in northeast India forced the evacuation of around 2500 people and killed scores of fish, birds, and monkeys, as well as several endangered dolphins. In a statement, OIL explained how on May 27 at around 10:30, the well suddenly became very active while workover operations were underway. The company said that there was no sign of fire, casualties or damage following the blowout, however gas continued to flow uncontrollably from the well for 13 days before the fire and explosion on June 9.
The rig is located next to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park which is home to several endangered species of animals and environmentalists have said the damage from the well leak could be irreparable.
According to OIL’s quarterly financial results, the leak and fire has cost the company more than $30.5 million (£23m) as of September.
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