Energy, Economy

Iran: Burning Oil Well Extinguished After 2 Months

Iran: Burning Oil Well Extinguished After 2 MonthsIran: Burning Oil Well Extinguished After 2 Months

A blazing oil well in Iran's southern oil-rich Khuzestan Province was extinguished late on Tuesday after burning relentlessly for almost two months in what was described as the most formidable fire in the country's petroleum industry.

“After 58 days, experts at the National Iranian South Oil Co. and National Iranian Drilling Co. managed to put out the blaze that erupted in Well 147 of Rag Sefid Oilfield,” Bijan Alipour, the NISOC managing director, was quoted as saying by IRNA on Wednesday.

He expected the well's drilling operations to resume in the near future following an explosion on Oct. 29 that killed two workers and caused the conflagration.

"It is the most difficult firefighting mission of my career," said Mehran Makvandi earlier this month during operations to douse the Rag Sefid blaze.

According to the official, efforts were complicated by torched materials on the top of the well and damaged valves.

Officials and local media celebrated the end of the backbreaking mission, and rightly so. But it also begs the question as to why the deadly incident occurred in the first place.

An official with knowledge of the incident who did not want to be identified told ILNA last month that the explosion was a result of using "poor Chinese equipment".

Oil well fires can cause the loss of hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil per day. Combined with the ecological problems caused by the large amounts of smoke and unburned petroleum falling back to earth, oil well fires can also cause enormous economic losses. Officials had said the well was not operational.

Rag Sefid oilfield, which has been into production for over fifty years, holds an estimated 16.5 billion barrels of crude oil in place. Foreign companies including Schlumberger, Zarubezhneft as well as Iran's MAPNA Group have conducted studies on the field.

Iran's petroleum industry was shook by another deadly incident in October. At least six people were killed and two injured in a blaze at Tehran Oil Refinery following a fuel leakage at a processing unit of the refinery.

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