Hungary MOL fights gas eruption, seeks international help

BUDAPEST, Sep 4, 2000 -- (Reuters) Hungarian oil and gas group MOL Rt will seek international help to put out a gas well fire it has been fighting for nearly three weeks, an official confirmed on Monday.

A gas well in Pusztaszolos in southeast Hungary, which erupted in flames 18 days ago and was seemingly successfully put out on Sunday, had to be opened again on Monday after "wild" gas burst to the surface from a broken pipe, officials said.

"This is the most serious flaring gas eruption ever in Hungary," Csaba Bokor, managing director of MOL told Reuters, adding it could take several weeks to bring under control.

He said the well would be set afire again on Monday to avoid a possible explosion, but added there was no immediate danger as the well was being constantly cooled with water.

Bokor said there was no need for an evacuation of residents from nearby villages.

There was no word of the fire causing any problems in MOL's gas supply, but company CEO Gyorgy Mosonyi said earlier it would take weeks to estimate the total damage.

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