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Radars to thwart terror attacks on ONGC

ONGC beefs up security around its highly vulnerable offshore assets on the western coast of India following threats from terror groups.

business Updated: Jun 22, 2007 11:47 IST

The Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has beefed up security around its highly vulnerable offshore assets on the western coast of India following threats from terror groups.

Unwilling to take any chance, the public sector giant with a market value of $48 billion is putting into place a state-of-the-art radar-based surveillance system to detect suspicious crafts near the offshore oil complexes such as Bombay High.

"Serious security concerns have been highlighted at the highest quarters. A lot of concern has been expressed by the National Security Advisor and the Cabinet Secretary on the issue several times," ONGC executive director (security) BC Nayak told IANS over telephone from New Delhi.

"We are taking the matter seriously and all efforts are being made to beef up security at all our onshore and offshore platforms at Bombay High and other assets. Security threats to our offshore installations have always been real."

Nayak said: "We are installing a new radar-based Vessel and Air Traffic Management System (VATMS). Radars will be installed at all offshore platforms and be connected with a security hub onshore.

"In the event of any unidentified or suspicious craft entering our area, the navy, Coast Guard and the air force will be alerted to intercept the vessel."

The ONGC security chief said that to give more teeth to its patrolling units, the company would also procure state-of-the art speedboats with latest surveillance gadgets.

"We are trying to procure high-speed boats for patrolling the platforms. Currently patrolling is done only by trawlers but we have to do it with better equipped speed-boats."

Apart from the surveillance system, the oil producer has another plan to safeguard its offshore installations.

"There is another plan to segregate traffic to (the) offshore development area and regularise the traffic so that there are some marked exit and entry points," Nayak said.

While the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is responsible for security in all installations on shore, the navy and the Coast Guard provide security to ONGC's oil wells, platforms and associated equipment offshore.

"We conduct regular security exercises with the navy, Coast Guard and the air force on the offshore platforms to thwart any terrorist attacks. Besides, armed naval personnel patrol the sea round the clock," Nayak said.

The ONGC has proposed setting up a specialised Oil Security Force for the entire oil industry. But the government has reportedly put the proposal on hold.

First Published: Jun 22, 2007 11:35 IST