GUWAHATI: The oil field in the Baghjan area of Assam has been engulfed in a massive fire on Tuesday after 14 days of a gas leak. Tridiv Hazarika, OIL spokesperson said that they can't say how and why it happened. The oil well has been spewing gas in Assam's Tinsukia district for over a week after a blowout on May 27.
Oil India Limited said on Tuesday that it may take at least four more weeks to control the fire. OIL said in a statement that "Emergency meetings are underway with the expert team. They have expressed confidence that the situation can be controlled and the well capped safely.”
It further stated that "Large quantities of water and installation of high discharge pumps is required. Debris has to be removed. It will take four weeks for all the operations. Efforts will be made to reduce this timeframe as much as possible."
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said, "Instructions are issued to the district officials to ensure the safety of the people. Police, military, para-military forces and NDRF are present at the spot."
Sonowal further added, "I have informed Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan about the incident and asked him to take necessary steps to contain the fire and the blowout. Indian Air Force (IAF) can also play an important role in controlling the fire and I have asked defence minister Rajnath Singh about it."
Jayant Bormudoi, senior manager (corporate communication) of OIL said that the experts were not present at the site when the fire broke out and there is no immediate threat to residents of the area who have already been shifted beyond a radius of 1.5 km from the well.
OIL press release said, "Post the incident, emergency meetings are underway with ALERT Team. They have expressed that it is now a safe environment for working and are confident that the situation can be controlled and the well can be capped safely. The situation demands arrangement of large quantities of water, installation of high discharge pumps and removal of debris. All the operations as per ALERT will take about 4 weeks. Efforts will be made to reduce this time frame as much as possible. There are violent protests around the well site. Request was made to Chief Secretary, Govt. of Assam and District Administration, Tinsukia for maintaining law and order so that the experts are allowed to enter the site and start the well control operations. All officials of OIL / ONGC are being evacuated from nearby areas. Once the situation is normal, the experts from ALERT and the staff of OIL / ONGC will move to the site."