Panna-Mukta oil field shut after explosion; 1 dead

Written by Energy Bureau | New Delhi, Jun 5 | Updated: Jun 7 2008, 04:30am hrs
The oil and gas production from the prestigious Panna-Mukta fields, off the Mumbai coast has been shut after an explosion killed one person at the field site. The Panna-Mukta fields are owned by a consortium of Reliance Industries, BG Group of UK and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC).

The consortium has stopped producing 40,000 barrels of oil per day and 5.5 million standard cubic meters per day of gas from Panna-Mukta field since June 3. However, the adjacent Tapti gas field has not been affected.

Officials of the British firm, which is in charge of the operations of the Panna process platform, did not take calls. Sources said the person killed was a contractual employee of British Gas.

Panna-Mukta oil and gas field was shut on June 3 morning for maintenance work to prepare for the forthcoming monsoon season. However, when the facility was being restarted at 2045 hrs that evening, an explosion occurred at Panna process platform killing one person.

Besides shutting oil and gas production, the explosion damaged gas dehydrating facilities at the platform, they said. Efforts are on to restart oil production in a day or two, but restarting gas production will take sometime.

Oil output will be at a much lower rate than current production and will be ramped up during the course of time. No time schedule has been fixed for restarting gas production as the joint venture is assessing the damage, which if severe may even require replacement of equipment that may take 3-4 weeks.

After the accident, the Reliance-BG-ONGC consortium declared force majeure (meaning unforeseeable circumstance that prevents someone from fulfilling a contract). As per the contract, all of the oil from the fields is sold to Indian Oil and gas to GAIL India.