State body allows ONGC to drill oil wells close to Mumbai coast
The proposal was cleared in a meeting of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) on August 10 and the minutes were finalised last week. Ten exploratory oil wells are also to be drilled off the Gujarat coast, according to information
MUMBAI: The state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is preparing to drill four exploratory oil wells off Mumbai in the western offshore basin. The nearest boundary of this field is 11.3 km off the Mumbai shoreline and 16.6 km south off Juhu Beach.
The proposal was cleared in a meeting of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) on August 10 and the minutes were finalised last week. Ten exploratory oil wells are also to be drilled off the Gujarat coast, according to information.
The minutes of the MCZMA meeting said that ONGC proposed to drill ten exploratory wells in offshore block MB-OSHP-2018/1 in Gujarat and four exploratory wells in offshore block MB-OSHP-2018/2 in the western offshore basin, Mumbai. The total block area in western Mumbai is 4.6 sq km. At present, the closest oil fields to Mumbai are the Bassein oil fields, which are 80 km from the city.
The Gujarat and Mumbai oil fields were originally discovered by ONGC in 1980. According to the minutes, the activities will involve drilling the offshore wells, constructing platforms, and laying and hooking up the wells through 14 sub-sea pipelines from the platforms to the landfall point and onshore pipelines to the gas-processing plant at Bandra East.
After conducting a seismic survey in the two blocks, ONGC now plans to conduct development drilling to offset the decline in production without increasing approved production levels. Based on the findings of the seismic surveys, the target locations will be selected.
The MCZMA minutes also said that the proposal had been cleared and forwarded to the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority and State Level Expert Appraisal Committee.
The MCZMA has imposed several stringent conditions. There will be no disposal of solid or liquid waste in the coastal area, all hazardous material has to be disposed of scientifically, and safety measures have to be implemented in order to protect the coastal/marine environment. The excavated material has to be used for onsite filling/ levelling, and during the construction phase, all possible efforts/measures must be taken to maintain the coastal ecology and biodiversity.
D Stalin of NGO Vanashakti expressed concerns about the environment. “There are corals on the Mumbai coast and they are somehow surviving in a fragile ecosystem,” he said. “Care should be taken to prevent any eventuality, including oil spills. The fishermen of Mumbai use this area for their livelihood, and any form of pollution that affects them should be avoided at all costs.”