ONGC Fights Fire at Olpad-31 Gas Well in India, 12 Injured

Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd. (ONGC) engaged Houston-based well-intervention firm Boots & Coots to assist in controlling a fire that broke out at gas well Olpad-31, near Surat in India Saturday when maintenance work was being carried out, the company said in an announcement Sunday.

The Indian state-owned firm said the fire, which occurred at 12.30 pm local time at the onshore well in the Olpad area, around 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Ankleshwar, injured 12 persons, including seven from the ONGC Crisis Management Team (CMT) that was mobilized to control it.

The CMT staff sustained burns and are being treated in a hospital in Surat, while the remaining three have been discharged after receiving medical treatment.

Out of the nine admitted to the WellCare Hospital Surat, four are ONGC employees and five are from the crew of contracted rig which caught fire. Two of these injured are likely to be discharged soon, while the conditions of the remaining seven are reported to be critical but stable.

"All non-essential persons have been evacuated from the accident area. Since there is no habitation within 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) radius of the Well, there is no danger to the life and property in the surrounding areas," ONGC said in Saturday's press release.

On Sunday, ONGC stepped up efforts to drill a relief well near to Olpad-31. The relief well well will be directionally drilled to reach the Olpad-31 well sub-surface to enable the CMT to plug the affected well at the bottom and stop further gas flow.

Meantime, water is continuously sprayed "over the affected wellhead to keep the area cool so as not to let fire spread further. Fire is intentionally not being extinguished as gas gushing out needs to be burned at wellhead till such time well stops flow of the gas," ONGC added in Sunday's statement.

ONGC Director - Onshore Ashok Varma is currently on site supervising efforts to contain the fire at the Olpad-31 gas well.


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