ONGC well in K-G block leaking gas; environment damage feared

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A deepwater well in a Krishna Godavari basin block operated by state-run Oil and Natural Gas
Corp (ONGC) has been leaking gas for two months and there are now fears of environment damage due to the uncontrolled flow.

The well G-1-9 in Bay of Bengal has been leaking gas since August-end and all efforts by ONGC to contain the flow have so far been futile.

"This is a very old, drilled some eight or 10 years back. It wasn't producing till now and we had plans to put in on production sometime next year along with other gas finds in the area," a company official said.

However, an uncontrolled flow of gas started from the well around August 30.

After attempting in-house solutions, the company is now looking at outside specalists to cap the well. There are fears that the well may start spilling oil too, which may spell environmental disaster.

"We have no idea how much gas (mostly methane) might have spilled but I suppose it must be at least one lakh cubic meters per day," the official said.

ONGC is developing G-1 field along with neighbouring GS-15. Both the fields are marginal or small finds. G-1-9 well was part of this development through which ONGC had planned to produce 2.7 million standard cubic meters of gas and 9,400 barrels of associated oil daily.

The official said The company has sought help of Coast Guard and Navy as well as neighbouring operators like Reliance Industries-BP combine and Cairn India to control the gas leak.

ONGC had in the integrated development of G-1 and GS-15 targeted to produce 0.982 million tonnes of oil and 5.92 billion cubic meters of gas by 2020-21.

The project at the time of conception in 2003 was to cost Rs 429.82 crore but the cost was subsequently revised to Rs 1,262.93 crore in 2004 and then to Rs 2218.01 crore in 2010.

The company had planned to being production from the fields by April-May but the gas spill may result in delays, he said adding drilling on GS-15 field was completed last August.

The project had time and cost overrun as the contactor (Clough Ltd of Australia) defaulted in work. ONGC terminated the contract in June 2006.

Of the two, G1 is a deep water field and is located 20 km away from the shore. GS15 is a shallow water field. G1 was the first deepwater field to be developed by ONGC.

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