Gas leak cause of Oil India blaze, says DGMS

Vol 20, PW 24 (24 Aug 17) Exploration & Production

A gas leak is blamed as the cause of a fire at a well-logging truck that injured five Oil India workers in Assam on August 3.

This report learns the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) will send 'show cause' notices to at least three Oil India officers asking them to explain the fire. One of these officials is a senior executive engineer caught in the blaze.

"Unfortunately Johnson (the engineer) has to be sent the 'show cause' notice," says a DGMS source. "But his doctors are denying us access to him and without his statement the inquiry is incomplete." He adds the DGMS will submit its final report end-August after which 'show cause' notices will be sent.

"Then 21 days will be granted for the officers to respond," we hear. When fire engulfed workover operations at well NKH-584 near Joypur in Assam it was first blamed on a faulty air-conditioner in the truck.

Now a different story is emerging. "Inflammable gas in the truck ignited by a spark in an electrical switch is to blame," says a source.

"Gas had leaked from the well walls." Three engineers and two workmen suffered severe burns with three of the injured air-lifted to Delhi's Apollo hospital. Luckily the driver of the Rs30cr ($4.7m) US-made Artex truck was unharmed as he was in the cabin.

Oil India's own inquiry has yet to declare any findings.

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