By Debananda Medak
Guwahati: The natives of upper Assam’s Tinsukia district are now forced to recollect the nightmare that happened 15 years back at Dibrugarh district’s Dikom, as the Oil India Limited on Tuesday expressed fear that rigging a diffuser well, the last globally adopted option to fix the Baghjan oil well blowout may take four months.
In 2005 too, global fire-fighting experts had to be flown in to control a blaze at an abandoned oil well located in Dikom. It took about 45 days to control.
The PSU major stressed that it is still attempting to find the shortest and best feasible technical option to mitigate the crisis within a month.
OIL public relation officer (PRO) Tridip Hazarika said, “The experts, who reached Duliajan from Singapore on Monday, have highlighted four different options. We are putting joint efforts to implement the best feasible option. Our commitment is to fix the crisis within a month. Rigging diffuser well may take four months.”
Hazarika said up to the radius of 1.5 km in and around Baghjan has already been declared as containment zone. “All possible inflammable sources like electricity, vehicular movement, and electronic gadgets are banned.”
He also informed that one of the ONGC firefighters received a minor injury while he was working nearby the blowout site. “1600 families, comprising around 3000 individuals from Baghjan were evacuated and accommodated in four different camps,” Hazarika added.
Former India scientist head of the Halliburton Company, one of the world’s largest oil field service companies, Prodip Kumar Saikia said, “The Baghjan incident is a scientific failure, not technical. The Baghjan oil well, where the present blowout has happened, was never a gas well; rather it was a condensate well. I stressed it way back in 2005. However, the Oil authority ignored the report.”
Saikia headed the ground research conducted by America based Halliburton Company at Baghjan oilfields in 2005.
He alleged, “During our research, we found Baghjan as a condensate well. Since condensate oil is highly inflammable, explosion and a resultant fire were obvious only to happen either today or tomorrow. However, the OIL authority did not pay attention to our findings and declared Baghjan as a gas well. Baghjan blowout has reminded us about the Dikom incident.”
As an immediate measure, the scientist suggested the OIL authority to use surfactants to contain the crisis. “The OIL authority should start digging the diffuser well to fix the oil well blowout at the earliest. That is only the last globally available option. No scientists of the world can douse off the fire at this moment.”
In the meantime, the state’s chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal urged the Union Petroleum Minister to take urgent steps to douse the Baghjan fire. The CM requested the Union Defence Minister to deploy Air Force for controlling fire. He also directed the Tinsukia district administration and police to take necessary measures for safeguarding the interest of the local people besides calling on the people in the affected area not to panic.
In the meantime, Sonowal has directed Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary to immediately visit Baghjan.