Other States

Assessment of OIL well blowout impact on environment begins

File photo of the Baghjan oilfield blowout in Tinsukia district of eastern Assam.

File photo of the Baghjan oilfield blowout in Tinsukia district of eastern Assam.  

A team of The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) and an accredited private agency have begun assessing the impact on the environment around the Baghjan natural gas well that caught fire after a blowout, Oil India Limited (OIL) officials said on Wednesday.

The well in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district adjoins the sensitive Maguri-Motapung wetland and is close to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park that houses some wild horses. It underwent a blowout – uncontrolled escape of gas at tremendous velocity – on May 27 and has been burning since bursting into flames on June 9.

“A preliminary assessment by TERI team is in progress at the site for studying air quality and noise level. Bioremediation of sludge is being done using a technology developed in-house by our research and development wing,” an OIL spokesperson said, adding that air and water quality, noise level and lower explosive limit of gas were being regularly monitored at Baghjan.

Bioremediation is the cleaning of polluted sites through naturally occurring or introduced microorganisms for breaking down environmental pollutants.

While a team from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-North East Institute of Science and Technology has been studying the reported tremors in the area, scientists from Assam Agricultural University assessed the impact on vegetation.

Heat shield

OIL also updated the efforts to kill the well fire before capping the blowout. Certain steps such as erection of heat shield have been completed while a second set of equipment was awaited from the Rajahmundry operations of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited. Some fire-fighting equipment from Rajahmundry has already reached Baghjan.

Nine truckloads of material from an Army base in north-central Assam for constructing a Bailey bridge across a pond near the affected well were also being awaited. The bridge is essential for accessing the well strategically, OIL officials said.

Local pressure groups have continued to disrupt OIL’s operations across eastern Assam. This has resulted in a total production loss of 6,132 metric tonnes of crude oil and 7.97 million metric standard cubic metres of natural gas, officials of the exploration major said.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:39:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assessment-of-oil-well-blowout-impact-on-environment-begins/article31855159.ece

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