NEW DELHI, Dec 15 - Production of condensate from �Well-5� of Baghjan will have an adverse impact on marine and aquatic ecosystems and it can have persistent influence for months on a site. This was part of the Progress Report II (volume I) of the Committee of Experts constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and headed by Justice Brojendra Prasad Katakey, former judge of Gauhati High Court.
The Progress Report submitted to the NGT on December 10 said that general characteristic of condensate is light, volatile and acutely toxic. Experts have meticulously documented the impact of condensate on marine and aquatic ecosystems and the persistent impact it can have for months on a site. While some of such independent expert opinions may be in regard to offshore gas projects, the discussion on the ecological impact of condensate is general in nature and applies to the incident under review as well, the report said.
It has been stated by Oil India Limited (OIL) that diversion of the well at the nearby early production setup (EPS) had been attempted on September 13 and a cumulative production of 6,960 kilo litres (KL) of high-quality condensate along with 49.01 million metric standard cubic metre (MMSCM) of natural gas has been achieved till November 5.
It is also important to note that the detrimental impact of condensate on environment is well documented by independent experts. Having regard to the technical aspects which have to be ascertained, the committee has already constituted a multidisciplinary committee to ascertain the impact on the eco-sensitive zone of Dibru Saikhowa National Park and Maguri-Motapung wetland and also assess the impact on agriculture, fishery, aquatic habitat, domestic animals, grasslands, etc., in the neighbouring area, the report said.
The multidisciplinary committee will also verify the ecological impact of the condensate in the site of incident and provide its findings thereto which will be provided in the subsequent report of the Committee of Experts.
The blowout of Baghjan Well-5, located in Doomdooma of Tinsukia district on May 27 and a subsequent explosion on June 9 has led to filing of two separate applications with the NGT. In response to the applications, the NGT on June 24 constituted the Committee of Experts to examine 13 aspects, including the cause of gas and oil leak; extent of loss and damage caused to human life, wildlife, and environment; health hazard caused to the public; and extent of contamination of water of the Dibru river due to the oil spill.
In its preliminary findings, the committee directed the Pollution Control Board, Assam to take appropriate legal action against OIL and its officials for violation of the mandatory requirements of the Acts and rules. OIL has been unable to carry out the biodiversity impact assessment study either through the Assam State Biodiversity Board, as was mandated by the Supreme Court, a fact that stands corroborated by the Assam State Biodiversity Board.
Such actions place OIL in continuing contempt of the directions passed by the Supreme Court of India, specifically its order dated September 7, 2017 granting conditional approval to the oil exploration major to undertake the present extraction of hydrocarbons from the proposed wells. OIL had started the activities in Baghjan Well-5 five years prior to grant of environment clearance (EC) by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, which is mandatory.
The OIL, therefore, stands in contravention of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 1994 under which it is mandatory to obtain EC for any onshore drilling projects before commencement of activities on November 20, 2006, the committee said.