Baghjan fire
Image credit - Twitter @nayak_bj

The Tinsukia district administration on Sunday termed the media reports that the fire at Baghjan Oil Well has spread to some neighbouring farmlands as “completely false”.

The Tinsukia district administration said fire has occurred in a farmland near the Maguri Matapung Beel, approximately 1.5-2 km away from the Baghjan oil well under Baghjan police station and was lit to clear the farmland from bushes.

Officials of the district administration and police are present at the site and monitoring the situation.

The Tinsukia district administration has appealed to all not to fall for such false news and to maintain tranquility and law and order in the region.

On the other hand, the first attempt to cap the Baghjan-5 gas well failed after a 90-ft long Athey Wagon toppled over during the final well-capping operation on Friday.

The mishap comes as a major disappointment for the Singapore-based Alert Disaster Control team which has been painstakingly laying the groundwork for the final well-capping operation for past several weeks.

The expert team earlier decided to carry out the final capping attempt on Saturday which marked the 66th day of the Baghjan blowout.

The high-pressure blowout at Oil India Limited (OIL)’s Baghjan well took place on May 27 followed by a major blaze on June 9.

Since that day, the ignited well has been continuously spewing geyser-like jets of flames.

On Saturday, the first attempt to cap the well was planned by hooking the Blowout Preventer (BOP) with the Athey Wagon, which is an equipment for fighting oil-field fires.

It consists of a track-mounted boom with a hook on the end that is used to remove debris, deliver explosives or position a new well head.

In this particular case, the Blowout Preventer was hooked to the end of the Athey Wagon and an attempt was made to place it on the well head which would have successfully cap the gas well.

According to sources, the reason for the mishap is not clear but due to miscalculation on the part of the engineers by underestimating the weight of the BOP (some of them can weigh as much as 400 tonnes) caused the Athey Wagon to topple over as it was unable to bear the load.

Meanwhile, Tinsukia district administration assured that within August 6, compensation will be given to the families whose houses and property were damaged in Baghjan blowout incident.

“We have staged an indefinite hunger strike against non-fulfilment of our demand to provide compensation to the families whose houses and belongings were damaged due to Baghjan incident,” said Satyajit Moran, president of Baghjan Gaon Milanjyoti Yuba Sangha.

“The Tinsukia district administration has requested us to end the indefinite hunger strike and assured us that within August 6 they will provide the compensation,” he added.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com