Dibrugarh (Assam): The fire in the periphery of Oil India’s (OIL) gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia district has been doused. It happened after sustained efforts of fire fighters and at the moment only flowing gas is burning at the mouth of the well. This information was given Thursday by a senior official of the PSU.
Area declared ‘red zone’
No peripheral burning is taking place at the moment at the well’s site at Baghjan. However, the company has declared an area up to 1.5 km radius as ‘red zone’. This has been done ‘to avoid any untoward incident and harm to the general public’.
“Now only the flowing gas is burning at the mouth of the well. We have declared an area with 1.5 km of radius as a red zone so that no outside person comes near the site. It is being done as a safety measure,” OIL senior manager (Public Affairs) Jayant Bormudoi.
More experts to arrive
The official said three more foreign experts from the US and Canada will reach Assam in two days to control the blaze. The blaze was caused by a major blowout at the gas well Tuesday, last week.
Currently, three experts from Singaporean firm Alert Disaster Control are working at the site since Monday to stop the gas leak.
“We have contacted three more experts and they will be joining us the day after tomorrow. Two of them are from the USA and one is from Canada,” Bormudoi said. “The visa and all other regulatory approvals are completed and they will be flying very soon from their respective places,” he added.
Bormudoi informed that the gas is flowing uncontrollably at a pressure of 4,500 psi (pounds per square inch). It is ‘very very high’ to control the leakage.
No one is able to approach the well beyond 50 metres because of excessive heat. Our fire tenders are now spraying water and creating a water umbrella in the periphery. By cooling down the periphery, the experts are trying to approach slowly,” explained the official.
He was asked about repeated tremors felt by people in the area Wednesday night. Bormudoi said it was not from underground sources but produced overground. “When the massive fire burnt a huge amount of oxygen in the periphery, an air vacuum was created. This resulted in sudden air movement and created minor local tremors,” Bormudoi said.
The well, which has been spewing gas caught fire Tuesday afternoon. The blaze killed OIL’s two fire fighters at the site. They were found dead in a wetland abutting the site of the major blaze.
The victims have been identified as Durlov Gogoi and Tikheswar Gohain. They worked as assistant operators of the fire service department of the company. Gogoi was a well-known football player. He had represented Assam at several national tournaments in under-19 and under-21 categories. He was the goalkeeper of the Oil India football team.
Already two officials of OIL have been suspended for alleged negligence of duty at the gas well site. A show cause notice has been sent to ‘John Energy Pvt Ltd’ the outsourced private operator of the well.