A gas leak at a well being drilled by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) in the Mumbai High oilfield, 162 kilometres off the Mumbai coast, resulted in the activation of safety procedures, with drilling operations shut down and 42 non-essential staff out of 82 personnel evacuated from the Sagar Uday rig. ONGC said the operations were safe and there was no loss of life or property.
The operation to plug the high pressure, highly inflammable gas leak started on July 20 but was stood down later that day because of inclement weather and rough monsoon seas.
An ONGC official told PTI: “It is not a regular, localised pipe leakage, but something much bigger that would require cemented operations at a huge depth of 1,183 metres. It will definitely be a time-consuming process and we are waiting for right weather conditions to initiate it.”
The gas leak from the outermost casing annulus of the NSBX oil well resulted in the deployment of five ONGC vessels, including two multi-support vessels and a crisis management team, to start preparations for plugging the leak.
An expert from the US-based Boots and Coots, specialising in emergencies and well interventions, is guiding operations and is likely to visit Mumbai if required, the ONGC official said.
The company does not expect its production – estimated at around 310,000 barrels per day from the 1,000-odd wells in the Bombay High field – to be affected.
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard are closely monitoring the situation and have vessels and helicopters on hand to assist if required.