The second attempt to shut Oil India’s damaged well at Baghjan in Assam, which has been spewing gas uncontrollably for 76 days, failed on Monday when the iron cable to lift the lid snapped, the PSU said.
This was the second attempt in ten days. The company said in a statement that when the blow out preventer (BOP) stack alignment was underway to insert the studs one of the two bull lines connected with the Athey Wagon, the equipment for fighting oil field fire which was lifting it, came out from the socket due to excessive heat.
“From the safety point of view and stability required for alignment of the BOP stack on the well head, experts decided to safely remove the BOP stack from the well head. Operations will resume after carrying out necessary rectification jobs,” it added.
The BOP is a very heavy metal cover weighing several tonnes that is placed at the mouth of any gas or oil well to stop leakage of the fuel from under the ground.
Oil India Ltd (OIL) spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika told news agency PTI that experts were trying to put the blow out preventer (BOP) at the mouth of the well, which is on fire since June 9, but the wire snapped due to excessive heat.
“After placing the BOP at the well mouth, experts tried to fit the spools. But as there was constant fire, the cable broke.”
“Our experts are working on to repair the cable. As soon as it is ready, we will try again,” he added.
The first attempt to shut the damaged gas well had faced a setback when the wagon or hydraulic lift used to put a lid on the mouth gave in and toppled over on July 31.
Well number 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district has been spewing gas uncontrollably since May 27 and it caught fire on June 9, killing two of OIL’s firefighters at the site.
On July 22 three foreign experts of a Singapore company invited to assist OIL and ONGC experts for putting out the inferno, received burn injuries while they were removing a spool from the well head. Hazarika said that the injured experts have left the country and two others from the company are working at the site”.
OIL said it continues to face protests and blockades across few of its wells and field locations leading to heavy loss in production in the last few months.
“OIL’s cumulative loss of crude oil and natural gas has been 24,968 MT and 60.2 MMSCM respectively,” the release said.
The PSU said that various assessments and impact studies of the blowout as well as the blaze is on in villages and nearby forest areas by multiple agencies such as ERM India, TERI, CSIR-NEIST and IIT-Guwahati.
OIL said that surveys for assessment of damage for compensation by the district administration are in progress in both Tinsukia and Doomdooma circles.
The total number of families surveyed for assessment of damage for compensation till August 9 in Doomdooma and Tinsukia circles is 2,739.
Over 9,000 people were initially shifted to 13 relief camps after the well suffered a blowout in May and subsequently caught fire last month, it added.