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Assam Well Fire Continues to Rage, Environment Assessment Study in Progress

File photo of NDRF personnel at the site of the oil well blowout in Assam's Tinsukia. (AP)

File photo of NDRF personnel at the site of the oil well blowout in Assam's Tinsukia. (AP)

A joint team from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and North East Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat had reached Tinsukia on Wednesday to study tremor report using seismological technique.

  • PTI Tinsukia
  • Last Updated: June 18, 2020, 9:27 PM IST
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With gas continuing to flow out uncontrollably and the blaze still raging at a natural gas well of Oil India Limited (OIL) at Baghjan in Assam, an environment impact assessment study is in progress along with monitoring of air quality and noise level, the PSU said.


Well number 5 has been spewing gas uncontrollably since May 27 and it caught fire on June 9, killing two of OIL's firefighters at the site.


The public sector undertaking said the environment impact assessment (EIA) study is in progress by M/s ERM India Pvt. Limited, a NABET accredited consultant, to carry out an environmental and ecological survey within the vicinity of the gas well in Tinsukia district, including Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and MaguriMotapung Beel.


Mentioning that there will be a study by the energy, environment and climate change organisation TERI on air quality and noise level, the OIL said in a press release that arrangements for placing the equipment for monitoring are underway by a TERI team.


A joint team from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and North East Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat had reached Tinsukia on Wednesday to study tremor report using seismological technique.


Installation of five seismometer stations is to commence on Thursday and a recce will be conducted for additional site under guidance of district authorities, the oil exploration major said.


As part of the preparation for capping the well, OIL said a team from M/s SPA, Mumbai visited the site on Wednesday to assess the area for placing Breathing Air Cascade system for the safety of the personnel working during the well capping operation.


Talking about assistance from the Army, the release said 15 trucks loaded with materials for Bailey Bridge mobilised from 3 Corps at Misamari, Tezpur have reached Baghjan and preliminary work has started.


Fabrication of 10 heat shields for Army personnel has been completed and fabrication of additional such shields is in progress at OIL's engineering workshop, while erection of heat shield in front of the debris area is in progress, it said.


Regarding mobilisation of equipment from ONGC, it said vehicles carrying second load mobilised from ONGC, Rajamundry and ONGC, Vadodara are in transit.


Civil work is in progress for digging/ extension of the second 12,000 KL water reservoir, debris laydown and kill pump area, besides fabrication of other infrastructure required for well capping operation.


Though there is no fire in the periphery of the well site at present, the company has declared an area up to 1.5 km radius as "red zone" to avoid any untoward incident and damage to the people.


For relief and rehabilitation of the affected people and property, a survey has been initiated by the committee constituted by the district administration for assessment of

damage for compensation.


About the impact on oil/ gas production, the OIL said, "Due to stoppage or blockades, there was production loss of 406 MT of crude oil and 0.64 MMSCM of natural gas as reported on 17-06-2020. Operations were disrupted in 31 oil wells and 5 gas wells.


"Cumulative production loss since May 27 due to bandhs and blockades is 6,538 MT crude oil and 8.61 MMSCM of natural gas," the release said.


At present five inquiries are taking place to find out the facts -- a three-member probe by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, a one-member probe by the Assam government and an internal five-member inquiry by the OIL.


Besides, two more crucial independent investigations of technical nature are being carried out by Directorate General Of Mines Safety (DGMS) and Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD).


Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also ordered the Additional Principal Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) to conduct a study on the effects of the explosion on the environment and ecology of the surrounding areas, including on flora and fauna in the adjacent Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.


Already two officials of the OIL have been suspended for alleged negligence of duty at the gas well site, while a show-cause notice has been issued to John Energy Pvt Ltd, the outsourced private operator of the well.


An FIR has also been registered against Oil India and its outsourced private well operator for the Baghjan gas well blowout, which has polluted the environment and village surroundings.

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