Covid hits two of ONGC's most lucrative fields, 54 test positive, one dies

ONGC claimed that works are going on following the standard operating procedure and its staff is properly informed about the modus operandi following social distancing
State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has temporarily ceased operations at two drilling rigs in Western Coast, owing to the death of an employee and another 54 testing positive for Covid-19. The two rigs were placed in two of the most lucrative assets of the company – Mumbai High and Bassein.

A company official said the work stopped temporarily only at two rigs and remaining 34 rigs in the offshore were operational. He added there was no impact on the company’s production.


Mumbai High, also known as Bombay High, is an offshore oilfield located in the Arabian Sea, approximately 160 km west of the Mumbai coast. The field, discovered in 1974 and started production in 1976, is known primarily for its oil production. It also consists of two blocks -- Mumbai High North and Mumbai High South. Mumbai High produces around 170,000 barrels of oil per day and 12 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) of natural gas.

On the other hand, Bassein field also called the Vasai field is located 80-km off the Mumbai coast and is considered as one of the largest gas fields in India. The field was discovered in 1976 and put in production in 1988. Spread across 7,300 square kilometres in Arabian Sea, it consists of South Bassein field, NBP (D-1) field, B-193 super sour field, Vasai East field and C-Series and Daman gas field. Bassein field produces 32 mmscmd of gas and 60,000 barrels of oil per day.


ONGC claimed that works are going on following the standard operating procedure and its staff is properly informed about the modus operandi following social distancing. Interestingly, ONGC employee bodies had reportedly alleged that the infection was spread due to a lack of proper guidelines. During the time of lockdown, staff in Mumbai offshore fields were working continuously for five weeks and it was only after the lockdown restrictions were lifted did ONGC arrange for charter flights for their workers to reach Mumbai.

The company’s overall production was hit badly by lockdown due to the Covid 19 outbreak. In the month of April, the company’s natural gas production dropped by 15 per cent, while its cride oil production dipped marginally by 0.5 per cent compared to the same month in 2019. Overall gas output of India for the month of April also dropped 18.6 per cent to 2.16 billion cubic metres (bcm) against 2.65bcm a year ago. Crude oil production also fell 6.35 per cent to 2.5 million tonnes (mt) in April.


Hit by Covid-19 and lockdown, the state-run major has cut its capital expenditure by over 15 per cent or Rs 5,000 crore for 2020-21. The largest domestic oil and gas producer had budgeted a capex of Rs 32,502 crore for the financial year but now it has been cut to around Rs 27,500 crore. It had also sought a price assurance of $45 a barrel on crude oil. 


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