AGARTALA, June 18 (IANS): State-owned exploration giant ONGC has sought US experts' help to plug a leaking gas well in western Tripura from which natural gas continued to gush out Saturday, five days after it was first detected, a top officials said here Saturday.
"Experts from the US-based Boots and Coots will arrive in Tripura Monday to help the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) experts and engineers to cap the well at Konaban village," ONGC group general manager and head of the Tripura asset K. Satyanarayana told reporters.
"We expect that the gas leakage would be contained within a week," he added.
Boots and Coots has world class expertise in controlling such leaks. "The ONGC has a contract with the US company to provide assistance in the event of gas leakage or oil or exploration related eventualities," Satyanarayana said.
He said experts from Ahmedabad and Mumbai arrived here immediately after the accident and modern machineries from Assam's Shivsagar ONGC complex are being ferried to Tripura.
"There were no immediate hazards due to the outflow of natural gas, though it contained 96 percent methane. We have appealed to the local villagers not to be anxious," Satyanarayana said.
"There would be no environmental harm due to the gas leakage," he added.
According to the official, the ONGC has so far drilled 22 wells in the Konaban area and of them 19 are gas bearing wells.
"There is very little chance of ignition as we are constantly spraying water on the leakage gas," the official added.
After using water cannons to spray chemical mud to cap the leaking well, ONGC experts have now resorted to technical systems.
"The leakage started Tuesday evening when corporation personnel and engineers were engaged in routine maintenance work at the pipelines and gas well," Satyanarayana said.
"The outflow could not be sealed so far due to high pressure of the gas," he said, adding that now the pressure has reduced from 200 kg per square cm to 107 kg per square cm.
Meanwhile, Tripura State Rifles (TSR) troopers guarded the area to prevent entry of people in and around the gas drilling areas in Bishalgarh subdivision.
"We are also closely supervising the situation. At the moment, there is no need to evacuate the villagers residing near the ONGC drilling areas," Bishalgarh Sub-Divisional Magistrate Prashant Kumar Goel said after visiting the site.