Silchar, Aug. 5: A concoction of water and mud has been leaping to a height of 20 feet from an incomplete oil well in a Cachar village, causing Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited staff to flee in fear of a fire.
Around 7 last evening, the well, at Kanakpur part III village under Lakhipur subdivision, 32km from Silchar, began spouting water and alluvial soil uninterruptedly after a deafening sound.
Rattled by the emission, called blowout in oil parlance, the ONGC drilling staff and security personnel drawn from 15 India Reserve Battalion fled the site fearing a possible fire and spillage of gas.
ONGC promptly stalled drilling for oil or crude gas and shifted its petrified staff to safer locations.
The head of the Cachar forward base of ONGC, B.N. Singh, said the well was first dug up on Match 29 and has till now been drilled upto 2,700 metres.
ONGC needed to dig the Kanakpur well for another 700 metres to reach the oil level.
With the blowout, the oil giant will have to shell out Rs 1.5 crore to repair the damaged rig.
Blowout specialists and technicians from their bases in Nazira, Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Agartala have been asked by the ONGC headquarters in Dehradun to rush to Kanakpur to temporarily cap the well.
The ONGC source said this was the second blowout at the Cachar base of the ONGC.
In 1984, a big blowout emitting gas and fire had occurred in one of the wells in oil-bearing Badarpur structure.
Though the exploration of hydrocarbons in the Cachar area of the ONGC, comprising the Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi, began in 1977, no substantial deposit has been found yet.
An ONGC report stated the first oil strike was in 1981 and the first gas flow was discovered in 1987, but the output of both the primary hydrocarbons continues to be insignificant.
The report revealed that 76 wells were drilled in the regions 19 structures such as Adamtilla, Baskandi, Hilara, Badarpur and Bhubandhar.
However, of these, only six oil wells were productive and nine had gas flow.