Other States

Scientists asked to study tremors around blowout well

A file photo of the blaze at the Assam Oil India Limited’s oil well. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The North East Institute of Science and Technology (NEIST), under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has been entrusted withthe task of studying the reported tremors in eastern Assam’s Baghjan area where a natural gas well caught fire after a blowout on May 27.

This followed a meeting between Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior scientists of NEIST as well as the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati on Monday.

Watch | All about the Assam oil well fire

The locals of Natungaon, Natun Rangagora and other villages around the affected well claimed they have been experiencing tremors erratically ever since the June 9 inferno that is yet to be doused. The walls and pillars of some houses reportedly developed cracks due to the shock waves.

Oil India Limited (OIL), which had outsourced the operation of the Baghjan well in Tinsukia district to a Gujarat-based firm, said NEIST had been asked to measure seismicity, if any, due to the blowout and fire.

A blowout is an uncontrolled escape of natural gas or crude oil. The spewing is akin to a volcanic eruption.

“NEIST and OIL scientists surveyed the site on Sunday to identify locations for installing the broadband seismographs at various radial distances from the well. Five of these seismographs will be deployed by NEIST for data to be recorded tentatively for 7-10 days,” an OIL spokesperson said on Monday.

A team from The Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi was likely to visit the site on Tuesday to measure and monitor noise and air quality, he added.

Loss of 2 lives

The Baghjan well adjoins the Maguri-Motapung wetland and is about 1 km from the ecologically fragile Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. While locals said the blowout destroyed the wetland and killed a few floral and faunal species, two firefighters of OIL lost their lives on June 9 while battling the flames.

The Central and Assam governments, besides OIL, have ordered separate probes into the incident. More than 7,000 people from around 1,500 families, affected by the incident, were still lodged at various relief camps.

When Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited Baghjan on Sunday, some local organisations demanded payment of ₹1 crore as compensation to each affected family.

OIL continued to face protests and blockades for the sixth consecutive day, registering a cumulative production loss of 5,386 metric tonnes of crude oil and 7.04 million metric standard cubic metres of natural gas.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 8:54:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/scientists-asked-to-study-tremors-around-blowout-well/article31835207.ece

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