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Fire still raging in Rag-e Sefid oilfield.

A fire that erupted almost two months ago in the Rag-e Sefid oilfield in southern Iran is still burning fiercely.

The well blowout at Rag-e Sefid in Khuzestan province occurred October 29. The accident happened while drilling operations were ongoing. The blowout burned the drilling rig and killed two men working for the National Iranian Drilling Company (NIDC), the Mehr news agency reported.

One week after the blowout, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh said the blaze would be brought under control within one and half months, but the well was still burning Tuesday after 57 days.

Iran has experience dealing with such accidents, as the country has brought 12 blowouts under control over the past 12 years. But Mehr said this one is a rare case given the extremely high pressure of the oil coming from the well.

Many oil officials, including Ramin Hatami, the managing director of the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFC), believe Iran has no need to seek help from abroad to bring Rag-e Sefid under control.

For stopping the blaze in this well, Iran has tried both of the standard methods--top killing and bottom killing, Mehr reported.

In top killing, water is poured on the fire from 10 locations around the burning wells. A very large pool has been dug 150 meters from the wellhead and five pipelines have been built to bring water from different spots to this pool. Given that Rag-e Sefid is located in a mountainous area and the ground is very hard, digging this pool took 14 days.

For conducting the bottom killing operation, two wells were dug near the burning well.

Bijan Alipour, the managing director of the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), said digging the big pool and laying 250 kilometers of pipeline to bring water to it over 14 days, while also digging the two water wells near the burning well during 11 days are two records in the country's history of tackling such blowouts.

No new forecasts on when the fire will be extinguished have been made.

Caption: BIG BLOW--Flames fed by a crude oil blowout under great pressure fill the sky in Khuzestan province.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Dec 29, 2017
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