Oil India Limited on Sunday said most of its wells in Assam’s Baghjan, which were shut due to protests by locals over a fire at a gas well after a days-long blowout, have resumed operations following a meeting with a representative body of residents mediated by the Tinsukia district administration. The operations started between 7 pm and 8 pm on Saturday after the locals lifted their blockades of most of the oil and gas wells, it said.

A meeting was held between Tinsukia district administration, OIL representatives and Baghjan Gaon Milanjyoti Yuva Sangha, a local organisation, on Saturday to sort out the issues related to the blockade of the oil and gas wells across the district, the state-owned OIL said in a statement.

However, drilling and associated operations in five more areas, outside Baghjan, are still disrupted due to the agitation, it said.

With gas flowing uncontrollably and the blaze raging at the Public Sector Undertakings major’s gas well in Tinsukia for the last 26 days, the company said it had lost 8,013 metric tonnes (MT) of crude oil and 10.24 million metric standard cubic metres (MMSCM) of natural gas output due to bandhs and blockades.

OIL said there was a production loss of 386 MT of crude oil and 0.37 MMSCM of natural gas on Saturday due to disruptions in 30 oil wells and three gas wells.

Well number 5 at Baghjan had been spewing gas uncontrollably since May 27 and it caught fire on June 9, killing two of OIL’s firefighters at the site. Talking about the ongoing process to control the situation, OIL said, it has placed a second air compressor unit at the site to start the pump engine, while transportation of tested equipment and machinery from the company’s yard is underway.

The PSU said 90 per cent construction of a bailey bridge by the Army over a water body abutting the well has been completed. Various assessments and impact studies of the blowout and the blaze in villages and nearby forest areas are being conducted by multiple agencies such as TERI, CSIR-NEIST and Assam Agricultural University.

The blaze at the well is said to be endangering the local biodiversity in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.

Though there is no fire in the periphery of the site at present, OIL has declared an area up to 1.5 km of radius as “red zone” to avoid any untoward incident and damage to the people.