Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) - A fire that engulfed an oil well site in Seuneubok Dalam Village, Ranto Peureulak Sub-district, East Aceh District, Aceh Province, on Friday evening, occurred inside the working area of PT Pertamina EP (PEP), authorities revealed.

The fire that injured two people was related to illegal drilling activities, Avicenia Darwis, head of the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force's (SKK Migas') working unit for Northern Sumatra's areas, said.

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The fire-ravaged oil well was located inside the working area of PEP, an upstream subsidiary of state energy holding company Pertamina, in its joint operation scheme with Kawai Energi, he told journalists here on Saturday.

The fire broke out at the abandoned oil well on Friday at around 20:30 local time when several workers were conducting a circulation, he said, adding that remaining gas on the surface might have been captured by flames out of diesel exhaust or burning cigarettes.

According to Darwis, the fire could have been extinguished and it did not disrupt the operational activities of PEP and Kawai Energi.

Aceh Oil and Gas Managing Agency (BPMA) spokesman Akhyar Rasyidi stated earlier that the BPMA would coordinate with SKK Migas' working unit for Northern Sumatra's areas to investigate the incident.

According to local news reports, the wounded victims who are being treated at a local hospital are the Seuleumak Muda Village's residents. They worked at the oil well site.

In April 2018, a deadly fire had also engulfed a traditional oil well in Ranto Panjang Peureulak of East Aceh District, Aceh Province. The fire reportedly killed at least 18 people and injured about 40 others.

The traditional oil well sites are not merely found in East Aceh District but also in several other areas in Indonesia.

For instance, an old oil well site exists in Wonorejo Village, Kedewan Sub-district, Bojonegoro District, East Java. Known as the Wonocolo oil well site, local villagers make a living from the oil wells that had been exploited during the Dutch colonial era.

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Translator: Irman Yusuf, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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