Oil In Assam Continues To Leak

Assam Oil Well Leak

Recent explosion at an Oil well in Assam has caused a leakage of oil and gas, which is yet to be stopped. While foreign experts have been requested to help, the situation has drawn criticism from environmentalists.

Crux of the Matter

Baghjan Oil Leak
A severe blowout occurred in Baghjan Oilfield in Assam on 27 May 2020. The oilfield, owned by Oil India Limited (OIL), has been leaking a combination of oil and gas since then. After failing to control the leak, experts from Singapore have been called to aid. OIL has served a Show Cause Notice to M/s John Energy Pvt Ltd, to which it had outsourced the oil well works. John Energy’s activities were taking place when the blowout occurred.

People in the radius of 5km from the oilfield reported respiratory and skin problems since the blowout, due to which 2,500 people had to be evacuated.

As the oilfield is located near the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, several Gangetic dolphins and aquatic animals were found dead due to the pollution created. Moreover, the government recently permitted OIL to dig and operate at 7 places inside the national park. Both the steps have drawn disapproval from environmental activists.

Birds are dead, chickens are dead, fish are dead. There has been loss of livestock. Condensate can be found at my eco camp which is 5.5 km away from the site. We don’t see any action on the ground.

Niranta Gohain, Environment Activist

Recent Industrial Mishaps – Timeline
Several industrial accidents have occurred in recent times mainly owing to the negligence of safety protocols.

  • 1 Nov 2017: NTPC power plant explosion, Unchahahr, UP
  • 19 Feb 2020: Explosion in firecracker factory, Sivakasi
  • 7 May 2020: Styrene gas leak in LG Polymers, Vizag
  • 7 May 2020: Gas leak in Shakti paper mill in Raigarh district, Chhattisgarh
  • 7 May 2020: Neyveli Lignite Corporation boiler blast, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu

Complete Coverage: Styrene Leak Compounds COVID Misery In Vizag

  • The Devil’s Cigarette Lighter was a natural gas well fire at Gassi Touil in the Sahara Desert of Algeria. The well produced more than 170 m3 of natural gas per second, whose flame rose between 140 m and 240 m. The blowout and fire were estimated to have consumed enough gas to supply Paris for three months, burning 16,000,000 m3 per day. After burning for almost six months, the fire was extinguished by well fire expert Red Adair, who used explosives to deprive the flame of oxygen.
  • Though the precise etymology of Assam is not clear, the name Assam is associated with the Ahom kingdom, probably from a Burmese corruption of Shyam (Shan).
  • The Darvaza gas crater also known as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell, is a natural gas field collapsed into a cavern located in Derweze, Turkmenistan. Geologists intentionally set it on fire to prevent the spread of methane gas, but it has been burning continuously since 1971.