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Bad weather hampers ONGC gas leak plug operations at Bombay High

Mumbai: The ONGC is waiting for conducive weather conditions to plug and seal a gas leak from one of the wells at Bombay High, an official said on Monday.

The rough monsoon sea in the vicinity of the drilling rig Sagar Uday, around 100 nautical miles off Mumbai, is preventing ONGC vessels to carry out the gas leak plug operations.

"It is not a regular, localized 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 official said.

The gas leak early on Saturday from the outermost casing annulus of the oil well NSBX prompted a precautionary evacuation of 48 non-operational personnel from the site, while around 40 operational staffers continue to be stationed there.

The ONCG deployed five of its 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, specializing in emergencies and well interventions, is also guiding the 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 region of Arabian Sea - to be affected due to the minor leak in one of its installations.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are closely monitoring the situation and have kept ready their ships and helicopters to provide any assistance at short notice.

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