Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) hopes to resume operations at the flood-hit Hazira Gas Processing Plant this week and ease the shortage of gas supply for power generation and transport in the northern states.
"Though the situation at the complex is quite bad, we are hopeful of restarting one phase by August 19, two days before than what was envisaged earlier," A.K. Balyan, director (human resources and business development), said on Wednesday in New Delhi.
Led by ONGC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma, a team of senior officials had on Tuesday inspected the plant facility near Surat in south Gujarat that had been shut down on the night of Aug 8 following heavy floods in the Tapi river.
The plant processes almost half the gas available in the country and its shutdown had curtailed gas supplies to power plants feeding the northern states that are now facing severe electricity shortage.
As the floodwaters receded, the plant was being cleaned up and the damage was being evaluated.
"Our target is to start one phase of the plant by Saturday. This could mean the resumption of a gas supply of 7-8 million standard cubic meters per day to begin with," said Balyan.
The petroleum ministry is keen to put the plant back into operation at the earliest to prevent any disruption in gas supplies to New Delhi, particularly to the Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) which is the sole supplier of compressed natural gas (CNG) for the transport sector.
The shutdown of the Hazira plant has cut off supplies of around 33 million standard cubic metres of gas per day (mmscmd) into the Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur (HVJ) pipeline and reduced the supplies from the regassification plant of Petronet LNG at Dahej to 18 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd).
Out of the 40.5 mmscmd gas processed at the plant, 27 mmscmd is from ONGC's Bassein and B-55 fields and the remaining from Panna/Mukta and Tapti fields operated by a joint venture of ONGC, Reliance and BG.
Officials are aiming to get the complex, including the captive power plant, fully operational by Sep 1.
As an interim arrangement, ONGC has approached General Electric to supply it with 20-30 MW of power to restart operations.
Over 1,000 motors, equipment and some of the control panels were submerged in the floodwaters and insurers were still assessing the damage, Balyan said.
The revenue loss due to the shutdown alone is estimated to be over Rs.3 billion in the last eight days.
"The damage could have been much more but for the dedication and forethought of the employees at the plant who went about a systematic planned shutdown to ensure safety of the plant and machinery," said Balyan.
This delayed their own evacuation and 270 people were holed up in the complex for over 48 hours.