Kakinada: The Olinda Star, an exploratory rig owned by ONGC, that is drilling offshore for oil and gas in the 98/2 wing was affected by rough weather brought by Cyclone Phethai, and tilted, creating panic in Kakinada. The Navy was deployed to set it upright and foreign experts were also called in to help out.
According to ONGC Eastern Offshore Asset sources, the rig is operating in the 98/2 sector in the sea. This is a sector rig for oil exploration and a foreign contractor has won the tender to work in this area. The rig was on a punt in the sea. Due to the rough weather, the punt was bogged down in the mud of the seabed and simultaneously the legs of the rig tilted.
According to sources, there were nearly 120 workers on the rig. But when the sea turned rough with the impending cyclone, all personnel were evacuated from the rig on December 16. Aerial surveys of the rig conducted two days ago showed that the rig appeared to be tilted. ONGC officials immediately informed the Navy. Five experts, three from France and two from Singapore, were brought in to get the rig upright and worked with other experts and Navy personnel. ONGC said the rig has been set right and a thorough inspection will be made before it is made operational.
“There is no injury to any person or workers in the rig. The rig is an exploratory rig to drill in the water for finding oil and gas. After finding the slight tilt of the rig, the operation work started. Every thing was back to normal on Thursday evening,” said an official of ONGC Offshore Asset in Kakinada. He said that the rig operated inshore and not in the deep sea. He said that tilting of rigs during cyclones is normal. Recently, a rig tilted in the sea off Mexico. ONGC officials applied the technology used in Mexico to correct the tilt of the ONGC rig.
Amalapuram MP P Ravindra Babu told this reporter that the tilted rig was restored and everything was normal and it will be functional soon. ONGC dismissed as rumours fears that many workers may be missing at sea....