Experts attempting to douse the blaze at an Oil India Limited (OIL) natural gas well in Assam’s Baghjan, which had a blowout on May 27 and caught fire on June 9, had temporary success on Monday and were able to put out the flames for nearly eight hours.
According to OIL officials, effort to divert the gas from the well to flare pits to the Early Production System (EPS) was successful and led to dousing of the blaze. But due to technical issues, the blow out preventer (BoP) ram was opened and the fire started again.
“The fire was doused for eight hours. But considering observed leakage through wellhead, it was decided for the well’s safety to open the BoP ram and flare the gas through it as was the case earlier. Experts will explore the possibility of welding the leakage point,” OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said.
On August 17, foreign experts engaged by OIL were able to cap the well by placing a BO stack over the wellhead. But problems 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.
“Today we were successful (in dousing the fire). It was a unique attempt (to douse fire by diverting gas to flare pits and start production from a blazing well). Hopefully, the leakage will be easily repaired and by Wednesday we should be able to divert the gas from the wellhead once again,” Hazarika said.
Last week, Assam industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told the state assembly that it would take another 6-8 weeks to douse the fire at Baghjan.
“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,” he said.
The well in Tinsukia district had a blow out on May 27, during a work over operation and caught fire on June 9 killing two firefighters.