The Telegraph
Saturday , March 8 , 2014
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Wells’ safety threatened, says OIL

- Firm plea against strikes

Jorhat, March 7: Oil India Limited (OIL) today appealed to the people of Assam to secure a conducive atmosphere to maintain its operations.

It also cautioned that sudden closure of activities because of frequent strikes could have a severe effect on the safety of oil wells and installations, threatening nearby population.

A senior OIL official said it was the recent strike called by the AASU that led to an explosion at an oil collecting station near Duliajan town last night. “Sudden closure of activities because of the strike resulted in the explosion when we resumed work at the particular station yesterday. Fortunately the incident took place near the field headquarters and we could bring the situation under control soon, but had it taken place in a remote area there would have been a disaster,” the official said.

He said there are hundreds of oil collecting stations of the company and many of these are located in remote areas and such incidents could lead to disasters that could harm the nearby population.

The official said an oil well, which was closed down because of the strike, was opened by goons in a remote area, as there were no OIL personnel to man the well.

“There could have been a major incident even there but we somehow got information and managed to control the situation,” he said.

The activities of the company were paralysed totally for six days following a strike called by the AASU from February 28.

The students’ body, supported by AJYCP and ATTSA, had launched a 300-hour strike against the company alleging anomalies in the recruitment process recently. The strike was called off on Wednesday.

However, activities of the company did not resume even today in several areas, mainly in Barekuri, Baghjan in Tinsukia district and Moran in Sivasagar district as several splinter organisations were yet to call off their strike against the company.

The official said frequent strikes in the state have hit the company hard which has directly affected the power production, partial or total decline in LPG production, and tea production in the state.

The company had suffered a loss of at least Rs 200 crore during the 2012-13 fiscal because of frequent protests called by numerous organisations in three Upper Assam districts of Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia, where the company has oil and gas fields.

Baghjan, Berakuri, Makum, Halfjan, Digboi oil fields in Tinsukia are the most important hydrocarbon reserves of OIL, which is the main supplier of gas in the region.

Apart from supplying crude oil to Digboi, Numaligarh, Guwahati and Bongaigaon refineries, the OIL supplies natural gas to Namrup fertilizer plant, to Neepco and ASEB for power generation.

The company also supplies natural gas to Assam Gas Company Limited to feed around 2,600 households in Upper Assam with piped gas supply and supplies gas to more than 350 tea gardens in Upper Assam.

The company also contributes more than Rs 1,800 crore to the state exchequer annually.

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