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With Rising Floodwaters Inundating Baghjan Gas Well, OIL Puts on Hold All Work to Douse Fire at Site

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)

The company said all rivers in and around Baghjan are rising rapidly, while the Dangori river is overflowing and has submerged the pumps installed for extinguishing the fire at the mouth of the well.

PSU major Oil India Limited (OIL) said on Saturday that all ongoing work to douse a fire at a damaged gas well site in Assam's Baghjan was suspended as floodwaters have inundated the site and submerged the pumps installed to put out the fire.

The company said all the rivers in and around Baghjan are rising rapidly, while the Dangori river is overflowing and has submerged the pumps installed for extinguishing the fire at the mouth of the well.

All connecting roads to the site are submerged in floodwater and a key approach road has been closed by the Tinsukia district administration to all traffic.

This has been done as the road from a bridge over the Maguri-Motapung Beel has been severely damaged by the floodwaters and at many places, knee-to-waist-deep water is flowing on it.

Following a blowout on June 9, the well number 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district has been spewing gas for the last 32 days and it caught fire on June 9, killing two of OIL's firefighters.

"Working conditions at the site have been considered unsafe and all operations have been called off for the day. PWD and OIL engineers are jointly inspecting the roads," the company said in a statement.

OIL said various assessment and impact studies of the blowout as well as the blaze in villages and nearby forest areas by multiple agencies are also put on hold due to the flood.

On the relief-and-rehabilitation process, OIL said the surveys for assessment of damage for compensation by a committee formed by the district administration have been affected due to the heavy rainfall and flood.

So far, the assessment for 540 families has been completed in Doomdooma and Tinsukia circles, it added.

Over 9,000 people were shifted from nearby areas following the blowout and the subsequent fire that broke out in the gas well and they are now staying in 13 relief camps.

The company said there was an output drop of 88 MT of crude oil and 0.13 million metric standard cubic metres (MMSCM) of natural gas on Friday due to disruptions in 15 oil wells and a gas well.

"Cumulative production loss since May 27, 2020 due to bandhs and blockades: 8,658 MT crude oil, 11.12 MMSCM of natural gas," the OIL statement said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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