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Assam oil well blaze: 3 foreign experts sustain burn injuries during dousing operation

An official said that the blast occurred when the experts were on their way to open the spool of the well before putting up the blow out preventer (BOP) that finally douses the fire.

Published: 22nd July 2020 04:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd July 2020 09:09 PM   |  A+A-

Firefighters at Baghjan oil field in Assam (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Three foreign experts, flown in last month to control a blowout – or uncontrolled emission of natural gas – at a well of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Baghjan area of Assam, sustained minor burn injuries while removing a spool from the wellhead on Wednesday.

“…Three experts from M/s Alert namely Anthony Steven Reynolds, Doug Dallas, and Craig Neil Duncan suffered minor burn injuries while removing a spool from the wellhead. They were provided immediate medical attention by a doctor at the well site and later, taken to the burn unit section of Astha Nursing Home at Dibrugarh. They were released after dressing for burn injuries. It is expected that operations will resume at Baghjan tomorrow (Thursday),” the OIL said in a statement.

The blowout on May 27 had led to a massive fire on June 9 which is still raging. Multiple agencies are working at the site to control it.

An OIL spokesperson said it was a work-related accident causing a lateral fire. The OIL said the work for the removal of the spool was delayed by the floods in the area. Blockades by the locals also contributed to the delay as the OIL was forced to shut down 12 wells near the site of the blowout.

The OIL had flown in altogether six experts from Singapore, Canada, and the United States. Three of them had arrived more than a month ago. The oil exploration major is spending over Rs. 30 lakh a day on them. On July 18, they had expressed their willingness to return after the locals had virtually laid siege to the site of blowout leaving them as well as many other workers held up for 18 hours.

In the aftermath of the incidents of blowout and fire, people from more than 1,000 affected families were shifted to safer locations and sheltered in relief camps. Earlier, wildlife activists said the incidents had affected the aquatic animals, including the highly-endangered Gangetic dolphins, and fish at river Dibru.

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