NEW DELHI :
State owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) lost 467 mt of crude oil production from its 59 wells in Assam on Wednesday, due to blockade by local people and students organisation after a gas well at Baghjan in Tinsukia district caught fire on 9 June.
Two fire service officers of OIL lost their lives on Tuesday, and four people sustained ‘minor injuries’, with the fire burning at least 15 houses. Fire tenders been deployed to prevent the fire from spreading to adjoining areas. The blaze continues unabated, with the gas leaking from the OIL’ well since 27 May.
“OIL lost 467 MT of Crude Oil Production from 59 nos. of producing wells on 10-06-2020 due to blockade by local people and various students’ organizations at Makum, Barekuri, Hapjan, Lankashi, Nagajan, Hebeda, and Dhakul. Gas production was also affected," the upstream explorer said in a statement on Thursday.
This comes in the backdrop of India’s oil and gas production waning. According to the government, India produced 32,169.27 thousand tonne (TMT) of crude oil in 2019-20 and 31179.96 million metric standard cubic metres (MMSCM) gas in the last financial year.
“Although there are no formal reports of any bandhs having been declared, various students’ organizations/association, viz. AASU (All Assam Students’ Union), AMSU (All Moran Students’ Union) AASASA (All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam) forced OIL to stop operation in 3 drilling locations and 9 workover locations spread over the areas of Baghjan (Dighaltarrnag), Barekuri, Dhakual, North Balijan, Bozaloni, Borhapjan, Jorajan and Naharkatiya," the statement added.
There have also been violent protests around the well site with around 1600 families evacuated from the nearby affected areas and housed in relief camps.
“Law and order situation has been brought under control by police personnel deployed by the district administration at site and surrounding areas," the OIL statement said.
India continues to suffer on account of industrial tragedies. A toxic gas leak at LG Polymers’ facility last month killed 11 people at Vishakhapatnam, in one of the deadliest industrial accidents since the Bhopal tragedy of 1984. In November 2017, there was a blast in the boiler area of state-run NTPC Ltd’s Unchahar power plant in Raebareli that also claimed many lives.