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Assam river on fire after crude spillage

Crude oil on fire in the Burhidihing river.   | Photo Credit: -

A stretch of a river in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district burned for two days following the spillage of crude oil from “punctured pipelines”. The fire was extinguished by Monday noon.

Officials of Oil India Limited (OIL), headquartered at Duliajan in the district, said the crude that trickled into the river Burhidihing after midnight on January 31 could have been recovered had the stretch not been set on fire.

OIL as well as the district authorities, however, did not rule out accidental fire in that stretch about 500 metres long.

“Our team specialising in crude oil recovery and damage restoration after any spillage had done its job that very night when one of our central tank pumps had an instrument failure making a valve stop instantly. Almost 99% of the spillage was on land but the rest fell in a leader drain that is linked to the Burhidining,” OIL’s senior manager (corporate communications) Tridiv Hazarika told The Hindu from Duliajan, about 400 km east of Guwahati.

Crude extracted from OIL’s wells in eastern Assam is pumped into the central tank pumps where it is processed and sent to the century-old Digboi refinery on one side and refineries elsewhere in the country on the other.

“Because the valve closed, a reverse pressure was created in the pipelines and crude spilt from resultant punctures in the pipelines in two places. By the time the leakage was identified, the spillage happened in the leader drain which was not noticed immediately at night,” Mr. Hazarika said.

‘Loss minimal’

OIL officials said the crude, if not ignited, would have settled in time for the specialised team to recover and insisted that the loss due to burning of the crude was minimal.

Dibrugarh Deputy Commissioner Pallav Gopal Jha said the fire was extinguished but the administration was upset with the incident.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 3:20:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-river-on-fire-after-crude-spillage/article30729037.ece

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