ONGC opens new platform at Mumbai High North

ONGC opens new platform at Mumbai High North

ONGC today inaugurated a Rs 6,060 crore facility on India's biggest oil field to replace a massive platform that was gutted in a devastating fire over seven years ago, killing 22 people and costing its then Chairman Subir Raha his job.

The commissioning of Mumbai High North Process Platform will help the company raise output from offshore Mumbai High fields by 9,000 barrels a day to 206,000 bpd, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Chairman and Managing Director Sudhir Vasudeva said after inaugurating the facility here.

"The new process complex will result in production of 55 million tons of oil and 6.5 billion cubic meters of gas by the year 2030," he said. "This facility will also augment ONGC's objective of enhancing the hydrocarbon recovery factor from the current 24 per cent to 40 per cent."

In one of the worst accidents in the ONGC's history, a massive platform called the Bombay High North (BHN), 160-km west of Mumbai coast, was gutted in a devastating fire on July 27, 2005.

The accident caused a production loss of about 120,000 barrels of oil and about 4.4 million cubic metres of gas a day. Most of the output was made good by diverting oil and gas to neighbouring facilities.

The then National Security Advisor M K Narayan blamed lapses on the part of ONGC management for the accident. His report was used a year later to deny Raha an extension of service till his date of super annuation.

Of the current 196,000 bpd of out from Mumbai High, 79,500 bpd comes from the northern part of the field that spans 25-km wide and 75-km long in the Arabian Sea.

The rest comes from southern part called Mumbai High South.
Vasudeva said the new platform, weighing 13,500 tons, is the largest on the Mumbai High field.

The Mumbai High Field, discovered in 1974, is divided into two blocks -- North and South and has more than 551 oil wells and 33 gas wells.

The fire on MHN broke out when the multi-purpose support vessel, Samudra Suraksha belonging to the Shipping Corporation of India ruptured a riser (pipeline) carrying oil from the wells to the BHN, one of the fiver platforms in Mumbai High.

The platform, which had remained a beehive of activity for 24 years separating oil from gas, was reduced to molten metal in a matter of two hours.

In the resulting blaze, Samudra Suraksha, also caught fire and sank on August 1, 2005.

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