A leak in one of the feeder lines of the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) Mumbai Uran Trunk pipeline led to an oil spill about 80km off the Mumbai coast on Friday morning.
The Mumbai Uran Trunk (MUT) pumps 2.12 lakh barrels of oil per day to Uran.
Nearly 25,000 barrels of oil were lost in the spill, which is close to metric 50 tonnes of oil. ONGC stopped production for around three hours, said officials.
The Indian Coast Guard, who activated the national oil spill disaster contingency plan, said the oil had spread to 3 sq km of the Bassein oil and gas field.
But Coast Guard officials clarified that the spill would not affect the coastal districts of Maharashtra as the sea was calm and the wind was blowing in the direction opposite to the coastal areas.
“Around 8.45 am, we noticed a drop in pressure at our control room in Uran. The leakage was observed about 2 km from the Bassein oil and gas filed [BPB platform] in the western offshore of the Mumbai coast,” said SK Jha, deputy general manager (corporate communications) for ONGC.
On detection of the leak, ONGC mobilised a pipeline repair vessel and multi-purpose support vessels to the site to ascertain the extent of the leakage for containment, and repair the pipeline.
Subsequently, the flag officer defence advisory group and coast guards were informed about the spill, said Jha. “We also shut down the connected oil and gas pipelines for safety purposes, and diverted the oil and gas production from Bombay High to ICP–Heera Uran Trunk pipeline and to the Mumbai Uran Trunk pipeline,” added Jha.
SPS Basra, inspector general of the coast guard (western region) said: “Three coast guards vessels, including the first pollution control vessel Samudra Prahari, have been sent to the spot to control the oil spill. Also, a Dornier aircraft has been sent to spray disbursants and assess the amount of spillage.”
The impact on damage to environment because of the spill can be assessed only in a couple of days, added Basra.
This is the second major oil spill off the Mumbai coast within six months.
In August 2010, MV Chitra and MV Khalijia-III had collided off the Mumbai coast causing a major spill from MV Chitra.