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Current Affairs

Assam gas leak

Date: 09 June 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Natural gas has been continuously flowing out of a gas well in Assam following a sudden, uncontrolled release of gas/oil.

 

Background

The gas is a mix of propane, methane, propylene and other gases. It is causing symptoms such as burning of eyes, headache etc to people around the area.

 

Details

  • The Baghjan 5 well is a purely gas-producing well in Tinsukia district, and is at an aerial distance of 900 metres from the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. It was drilled by Oil India Limited (OIL) in 2006.

  • The blowout happens if the pressure balance in a well may be disturbed leading to ‘kicks’ or changes in pressure. If these are not controlled in time, the ‘kicks’ can turn into a sudden blowout.

  • In the recent past, two comparable blowouts have happened in Assam: at an OIL-owned oil well in Dikhom (Dibrugarh) in 2005 and an ONGC-owned oil well in Rudrasagar in the 1970s.

  • The control of a blowout depends on two things: the size of the reservoir and the pressure at which the gas/oil is flowing out. This reservoir was particularly difficult to control since it was a gas well and ran the risk of catching fire at any point.

  • While many blowouts automatically collapse on their own, it can take up to months. To control a blowout, the first step is to pump in water, so that the gas does not catch fire.

 

Dibru-Saikhowa National Park

  • Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is a national park in Assam, located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts. It was designated a Biosphere Reserve in July 1997.

  • The park is bounded by the Brahmaputra and Lohit Rivers in the north and Dibru River in the south. It mainly consists of moist mixed semi-evergreen forests, moist mixed deciduous forests, canebrakes and grasslands.

  • It is the largest salix swamp forest in north-eastern India, with a tropical monsoon climate with a hot and wet summer and cool and usually dry winter.