Key equipment needed to fight oil well fire in India
GUWAHATI: A major oil well fire in India’s northeastern state of Assam blazed for a third day on Sunday as specialist firefighters from the United States said they need more equipment to douse the blaze.
A spokesman for state-owned exploration firm Oil India said the fire has generated intense heat, making it impossible for workers to cap the spill. “The US firefighting experts have sought some equipment and machinery to cap the burst oil well and we are trying to get those,” Oil India group general manager J K Talukdar told AFP.
Some equipment has ‘arrived and some heavy machinery was being brought by road. It would take about five to six more days for the US experts to begin the assault and until such time the fire will continue,’ he said.
The well near Dikom, 520 kilometres east of Assam’s main city Guwahati, was damaged last on Tuesday, causing oil and natural gas to escape from the site in a remote tea-growing area of Assam. The gas ignited on Thursday afternoon. Oil India authorities tried to douse the flames but gave up and summoned experts from the Texas-based Boots and Coots International Well Control.
Two experts from Boots and Coots arrived at the site Friday and had suggested spraying water at high pressure ‘to suppress the gushing crude spill that is fuelling the fire,’ Talukdar said.
“Initially we thought the existing facilities available here would be enough to control the fire and plug the blowout, but now it is becoming a problem.”
India produces about 30 million tonnes of crude oil annually, with Assam accounting for five million tonnes of the total. afp