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OIL WELL EXPLODES NEAR ASSAM NATIONAL PARK.

30.5.20

/ by Bodopress
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Bodopress: 30 May 2020
OIL WELL EXPLODES NEAR ASSAM NATIONAL PARK.
Guwahati,  An uncontrolled release of natural gas was reported at
the Baghjan Oilfield of OIL in Tinsukia district 60 hours after an oil
well owned by Oil India Limited (OIL) in Upper Assam-experienced
a blowout on wednesday, authorities are yet to bring the leak under
control.
As they blow out continued till Friday evening, Assam Chief Minister
Sarbananda Sonowal discussed the situation with both Dharmendra
Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel, and
Chandra Mishra CMD of OIL, asking the latter to ensure that the
leakage is stopped at the earliest.

“We are in the process of carrying out the operations, expert teams are here. A lot of arrangements need to be made to get the spillage under control,” said OIL spokesperson, Tridiv Hazarika, “We need to get a huge supply of water, lay a pipeline, move in heavy equipment and much more. Once these things are in place we can control the well. There is no shortcut to the preparation.”

According to a release by OIL, the blow out was reported at 10.30 am Wednesday when a producing well under Baghjan Oilfield “suddenly became very active while workover operations were on.” The release also noted that the incident happened when operations were on to “produce gas from new sand (oil & gas-bearing reservoir) at a depth of 3729 meters.”
500 people have been evacuated from the Baghjan village, and are now at a relief camp in a school. 

“Some are also living with their own relatives, We are planning to put up another relief camp on Saturday,” said Bhaskar Pegu, Tinsukia DC.  On Friday, the authorities also extended the radius of the designated hazardous area from 600 meters to 1.5 km.


Currently, the OIL team along with a crisis management team from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and an expert team from ONGCL, Vadodara is on the job.

DC Pegu said that the heavy smell of gas hung in the air, and oil condensate has spread and settled on nearby wetlands too. The Bajan Oilfield is located very close to the Maguri beel wetland, which is part of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park, known especially for its migratory birds and feral horses.

Environmentalists raised an alarm on Friday when locals found a carcass of a Gangetic dolphin (an endangered species as per IUCN), with its skin peeled in a wetland near the area. “Even a number of fish have died — by tomorrow we will know the extent of the damage,” said Jiban Dutta, a bird guide based in Tinsukia, who had visited the site. “This is the bird nesting season and fish breeding season — the oil spill has had an adverse effect on biodiversity,” said Miranda Gohain, an environmental activist based in Tinsukia.


The authorities said that the carcass of the dolphin has been sent for a post mortem to determine the cause of the death. “We are concerned too but if the gas had adversely impacted the wildlife of the area, we would have seen many more dead animals,” said Hazarika, “We are not discounting the fact that this dolphin could have died because of the spill but we can be certain once the post mortem report is in.” Earlier this month, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had given environmental clearance for drilling at seven locations under the Dibru Saikhowa national park.

In a statement Minister Pradhan on Friday said: “OIL wants to reassure the local people of the area that their wellbeing, health, and safety is the top priority for the company. OIL is also closely monitoring the environment and doing the best to minimize the impact.”


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