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Home / India News / Another 6-8 weeks needed to douse Baghjan gas well fire, says Assam minister

Another 6-8 weeks needed to douse Baghjan gas well fire, says Assam minister

Assam’s Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told the state assembly that efforts are on to bring a team of experts from Canada to ‘kill the well’ with help of snubbing technology.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2020, 21:57 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
The  fire has been raging at the Baghjan gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia district  since June 9.
The fire has been raging at the Baghjan gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia district since June 9. (ANI)

It might take another six to eight weeks to douse the fire at a natural gas well in Assam’s Baghjan, industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told the state assembly on Wednesday.

The well operated by Oil India Limited (OIL) in Tinsukia district of Assam, which had a blow out on May 27, caught fire on June 9 killing two firefighters. Though the well was capped last month, the fire continues to blaze.

Replying to a zero hour notice by Congress’ Durga Bhumij, Patowary said efforts are on to bring a team of experts from Canada to ‘kill the well’ with help of snubbing technology.

“Experts from Canada are coming to Baghjan in a chartered aircraft carrying equipment to kill the well with snubbing technology. It could take another 6 to 8 weeks to complete the operation,” Patowary told the assembly.

Snubbing is a process to install or remove tubular (types of pipes used in gas and oil wells) from a well while the well remains pressurized (alive). This technique is used when it is not possible or desired to kill a well using a mud-sludge called ‘kill fluid’, a technique which was tried unsuccessfully earlier.

Patowary said 12 families whose houses were completely burnt by the fire will be given Rs 24 lakhs each. Another nearly 1,484 families living near the well have been provided Rs 30,000 each and 1,197 families living a bit far away will be given Rs 25,000 each.

A sum of Rs 10 lakh would be given to 57 families affected by the fire and 561 families who had partial impact would be given Rs 2.5 lakh each according to a relief and rehabilitation plan prepared by the district administration.

On August 17, foreign experts engaged by OIL were able to cap the well by placing a blow out preventer (BOP) stack over the wellhead. But the problem surfaced two days later when attempts were made to douse the fire by ‘killing the well’.

The operation was suspended on August 19 following rupture of a casing valve. The setback has forced the experts to plug all technical glitches before making another attempt to douse the fire.

OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika had said last week that with the first attempt to douse the fire failing, other options like cutting the entire damaged portion of the casing pipes and replacing with new ones or to digging up a relief well, which is used to intercept and kill a blow out well are being looked into.

“Since we have already placed the BOP, we are also considering producing gas from the well partially. If we are able to do that, then the killing operation will be slightly easier because the pressure of the gas will be reduced,” he said.

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