DIBRUGARH, Aug 18 - Misfortune continues to hold sway over the Baghjan oilwell. At the disaster site near Tinsukia today, even as the technical team were injecting the cement mud through the Blow Out Preventer (BOP) at more than the gas outflow pressure of 4500 psi (pounds per square inch), the almost 6 inch diameter casing valve gave way. The cement mud injection was stopped midway, and work was abandoned for the day around noon.
It is gathered from highly placed reliable sources that all were expecting to see the �killing of the well� this afternoon. The breakdown of the critical �casing valve� came as a rude shock to the entire Crisis Management Team (CMT). The team has six foreign experts, apart from Indian experts from OIL and ONGC.
OIL spokesman Tridiv Hazarika said the CMT experts are working on a two pronged approach to kill the Baghjan Well No. 5, to be called Plan-A and Plan-B. The former is a short term plan and the latter long term. These two strategies are being discussed amongst the experts, while COVID-hit persons are participating electronically. Hazarika said the hydrocarbon industry the world over generally drills another hole adjacent to a disaster struck wellhead if all other killing methods fail. He said this is a practice the world over, but is not an immediate option at Baghjan.
Adding to the woes is the rapid spread of COVID-19 among top OIL personnel. It has been discovered today that two field officers of OIL, working at Baghjan have been found COVID positive. At Duliajan, the COVID positive persons detected today include the OIL top brass: CMD Sushil Chandra Mishra, Director (Exploration) Dr P Chandrasekaran, Director (Operations) Pankaj Kumar Goswami and Resident Chief Executive, Dilip Kumar Das. Others in the company are also afflicted. So much so that the Health Department today ran out of testing kits at Duliajan. Fresh supplies are expected only by Thursday. This COVID outbreak in Duliajan has severely disrupted normal functioning of OIL, leading to a unique situation.