Careless act likely cause of devastating Oil India fire

Vol 9, PW 12 (22 Sep 05) News in Brief

Sparks caused by the careless throwing of a piece of metal is believed to have led to the devastating fire that broke out on 15th September in an Oil India well in Assam.

The fire was still raging as we go to press and is expected to take another week to be controlled. Loss of production is 500 b/d.

Outbreak of the fire was preceded by a gas leak from the Christmas Tree of the well. The well was killed and the leak was controlled, says a source.

Later, somebody threw a (metal) part of a valve around and this hit a metal piece causing sparks. No loss of life has been reported.

Luckily the wellhead did not melt. The blaze is the biggest-ever in Oil Indias history for the past 20 years.

Oil India has sought help from ONGC and overseas specialists to tackle the blaze. An oil industry analyst attributes this mishap as well as the recent spate of accidents at ONGC to the general laxity of non-upstream people heading both companies.