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ONGC yet to cap gas leak at its Tripura well
Published on 17 Jun. 2011 11:33 PM IST
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Despite battling non-stop, ONGC engineers have so far failed to plug a leaking gas well in western Tripura from which natural gas continued to gush out Friday, three days after the leak was first detected, officials here said.
Experts and engineers are constantly struggling to cap the well.
According to a spokesman of the state-owned exploration giant Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), experts from Mumbai and modern machinery from Assam’s Shivsagar ONGC complex are being airlifted to Tripura to kill the leaking well. ONGC authorities are not certain when they would be able to successfully cap the well.
There was no immediate hazard due to the outflow of natural gas, though it contained 95 percent methane, the corporation officials said. “We used water cannons to spray chemical mud to cap the leaking well. The chemical mud spraying has been stopped now. Experts and engineers have started the second phase of the operation to cap the leaking well through technical systems,”” ONGC officials told IANS.
“The leakage started Tuesday evening while corporation personnel and engineers were engaged in routine maintenance work at the pipelines and gas well at Konaban village in western Tripura,” ONGC spokesman Anil Raja Vijan told IANS.
“The outflow could not be sealed so far due to high pressure of the gas,” he said, adding that many senior experts and technical personnel have been camping at the spot, 40 km south of here, to control the leak at the earliest.
“A five-member experts team from Ahmedabad arrived here Wednesday evening by a special flight to help the local engineers and experts to seal the well. We are not sure when the experts would be able to shut the well,” Vijan said.
ONGC group general manager and head of the Tripura asset K. Satyanarayana, who is the chief of ONGC crisis management wing, is personally supervising the well-shutting operation.
Meanwhile, Tripura State Rifles (TSR) troopers guarded the area to prevent entry of people in and around the gas drilling areas in Bishalgarh sub-division.
Numerous fire tenders of ONGC and the Tripura government have been spraying water constantly on the leaking well to prevent a fire. The state government has alerted the people residing on the outskirts of the ONGC drilling site at Konaban, a village close to Bangladesh.
“We are 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.
Senior Tripura government officials also visited the site. The district administration has alerted the local people about the incident, requesting them not to panic.
ONGC owns significant natural gas reserves in Tripura. Since 1972, the ONGC has drilled 150 wells in Tripura, of which 74, including the latest one, are yielding gas.
The oil and gas exploration company has so far invested Rs.31 billion in the state.

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