Singapore expert roped in to probe OIL well leak in Assam

GUWAHATI: A joint secretary from the Union petroleum ministry along with an expert from Singapore will investigate the uncontrolled escape of gas at a natural gas-producing well of Oil India Limited (OIL) near a national park in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday morning telephoned Union minister for petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan and requested his help in getting foreign experts to suggest measures to plug the leak in the well at Baghjan.

Pradhan assured the chief minister of taking positive steps including bringing experts from Singapore to plug the leak and that a joint secretary from the petroleum ministry has been directed “to rush to the site to take stock of the situation.”

“Would like to inform you that the central government has decided to send a joint secretary from Delhi and an international expert from Singapore to investigate the matter,” Sonowal later informed through Twitter.

It may be noted that the blowout at the well on Wednesday morning had resulted in spewing of natural gas into the environment. The mishap has posed additional challenge to the state government which is already grappling with the twin problems of containing the coronavirus pandemic and floods.

“Though best of efforts have been put in place by the crisis management team to control the release, gushes of natural gas have been oozing unrelentingly. Following this, chief minister Sonowal called up Union minister Pradhan, briefed him about the situation and requested him to take up immediate steps like taking help of foreign experts in stopping the release,” an official statement said.

Further, in view of the cascading effect of the incident on the surroundings and the residents in the fringe areas, Sonowal requested the Union minister for announcing adequate compensation for the victims.

Reportedly, several hundreds of villagers have been moved to relief camps close to the drilling site

This is the second such blowout since 2005, when global fire-fighting experts had to be flown in to control a blaze at an abandoned oil well at Dikom in Dibrugarh district.

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