Guwahati: After almost one and a half month later since the OIL-owned gas well no 5 at Baghjan Tinsukia, near the Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, had caught fire on June 9, killing two of OIL’s firefighters at the site, the Oil India Limited (OIL) said that the main operation for capping and killing the well is yet to begin.
The well continued to be on fire on Wednesday. Thousands of people living in the vicinity of the well were displaced and the fire had gutted several houses of the villagers too.
Protests over the OIL’s inability to douse the fire also continued from time to time.
The OIL authority in an official communiqué said, “All the debris has been successfully removed from the well plinth area. The carrier, major part of pipes, the sub-structure of the Rig, few drill pipes and some miscellaneous items in and around the cellar area were removed. Presently, preparations are on for the well capping operation.”
It added that good progress of debris removal activities was achieved on Tuesday. The carrier and major part of pipes have been removed.
The operation to douse the fire also suffered from floodwaters forcing the authorities to suspend the operation for a couple of days. The floodwaters inundated the pumps installed to put out the fire.
OIL authority informed that with water level receding now, all three ONGC CMT Water Pump and OIL CMT water pumps were in operation for water spraying depending on the requirement. Water reservoirs were also being filled up periodically.
An environmental impact assessment was in progress and a damage-assessment survey has found that some 1,383 families affected by the fire.
It informed that due to the ongoing protests by locals and various organizations in the area over the fire, the OIL has suffered a production loss of 452 MT of Crude Oil and 1.57 MMSCM of Natural Gas till July 13.