The final well-killing operation to douse the fire at Oil India Limited’s gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia town failed on Tuesday due to technical problems, The Shillong Times reported. The operation involved pumping mud into the well under high pressure.

On Monday, Oil India had managed to cap the Baghjan gas well in Tinsukia, over 80 days after the well had a major blowout on May 27. It was capped by placing a Blowout Preventer stack on the wellhead, the company said.

In a press release on Tuesday, the company said that it had made all arrangements for carrying out the well-killing operation, like connecting kill lines and choke manifold lines. The company later said that the well-killing operation had failed.

“The process of killing of well was attempted but there were some challenges and the mission failed,” Oil India Limited Spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika told NDTV. “After experts at Duliajan return, we will know the actual reason. The next course of action will also be known later.”

Also read:

  1. Saving ‘jaati, maati, bheti’: Assamese civil society needs to recognise where the real threat lies
  2. An ‘Assamese PSU’: The Baghjan blowout exposes long suppressed resentments against Oil India
  3. A cartoonist is using satire to spotlight Assam’s biodiversity – and its destruction

Hazarika added that the well-killing operation would now be done by spraying chemicals. “These are mostly synthetic chemicals which are used for killing of well.”

The company said it has surveyed 2,756 families till Monday to decide on damages and compensation.

A massive fire had been raging at the oil well since June 9, as the gas that had been leaking ignited, sending plumes of smoke into the sky. Two firefighters had died in the blaze. Oil India had warned at the time that the fire could take weeks to extinguish. On July 22, another explosion at the well left three foreign experts injured.

Oil India Limited had approached experts from Singapore to help stop the gas leak. The oil blowout destroyed local tea gardens and water bodies in Assam, triggering protests by local residents.

In June, the National Green Tribunal had directed Oil India Limited to pay an interim fine of Rs 25 crore for the damage caused to public health and wildlife due to the fire.