At a time when every drop of crude oil counts, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has run into a production loss. Neelam, its third-biggest oil field off west coast after Mumbai High, was forced to shut down oil wells after an L&T-owned barge ripped two gas lines and dragged two gas lift lines 60 metres away.
Papers with The Indian Express show that 28 wells are shut since January 2 after L&T Sapura Shipping’s offshore vessel LTS 3000 damaged the four pipelines while handling the anchor during the laying of a 12-inch pipeline from NLG Process platform to wellhead platform NLM 13.
“This has resulted in damage to gas lift lines and consequently, disruption of production. Our preliminary survey indicates damage to LTR1, LTR3, 4 inch gas lift lines to NLM-6 and NLM-7; 8 inch gas lift line to NLM-8 during anchor handling,” says the ONGC report.
“The shutdown initially resulted in production loss of 1,558 barrels of crude but soon climbed to a daily loss 3,618 as four wellhead platforms were shut down to avoid gas leakage,” said an ONGC official. That’s 55,800 barrels of oil at the time of filing the news report when a barrel fetched $68 — roughly amounting $3.8 million.
And there is no word on when the full production from Neelam could resume as the repair is hampered by the non-supply of the required gripper assemblies by the project contractor L&T Heavy Engineering. Sources said that these grippers would be “borrowed” from ONGC to start the repair of the 8 inch gas lift pipeline.
The repair work has been assigned to IGOPL Offshore which has deployed offshore supply ship Seamec Princess. “The best case scenario informed by IGOPL Offshore is that full production could start by the month-end,” said the ONGC official.
Offshore service by vendors has become a big bane for ONGC which last Saturday lost five officers when a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed in the Arabian Sea. ONGC officials said the company has begun reviewing offshore logistics to make them “more safe and secure”.
ONGC invested Rs 5,700 crore to increase the production from Neelam-Heera offshore oil field near Mumbai High from 2009 by raising its capacity to 4,000 barrels per day from 1,500. Last March, it awarded a Rs 1,656-crore contract to L&T Heavy Engineering to enhance oil and gas recovery from the field. The incremental gain is pegged at 2.76 million tonnes of crude oil and 4.786 billion cubic metres of natural gas until 2034-35.