ONGC battles to control offshore KG gas leak

Vol 16, PW 5 (20 Sep 12) People & Policy

Halliburton-owned Boots & Coots is working with ONGC to control a major gas leak at a well off India’s east coast.

PETROWATCH learns ONGC hired Boots & Coots following an accident at well G1-9 in 260-metre water depths, some 25-km from shore in the Bay of Bengal. Eyewitnesses tell us the accident happened after ONGC-owned Sagar Vijay re-entered the well and installed a ‘Christmas Tree’ - a set of valves – to the mouth of the well and moved away.

On August 31, says a source, rig Noble Duchess - drilling nearby for ONGC - alerted it to gas bubbling to the water surface. “Sagar Vijay had moved away after installing the Christmas tree,” we hear, “then gas started bubbling to the water surface; whistling and blowing could be heard as the gas rushed out.

” Luckily for ONGC the gas is dissipating into the atmosphere, as it was not flared. ONGC asked Sagar Vijay to go back and identify the source of the leak.

She approached the location but stood at a safe distance. “Sagar Vijay is an anchor-moored rig, not a dynamically positioned rig,” adds our source.

“If an accident happens she can’t move away quickly.” ONGC then requested Reliance to send a support vessel from nearby KG-D6.

“Reliance sent in a support vessel,” we are told. “But the crew did not risk getting too close and stayed at a safe distance taking pictures.

You can see big bubbles on the water surface from 500 metres away.” As both Sagar Vijay and Reliance could do nothing, ONGC asked Transocean to divert drillship DD-KG1, which had just finished an assignment offshore Andaman Islands to the area.

“Pictures were shot underwater of the leak,” we are told. “The crew had to be very careful and approached the well downwind.

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