ONGC salvages its cyclone Pethai-hit rig Olinda Star
New Delhi: A team of international experts mobilised by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has recused cyclone-hit semi-submersible rig, 'Olinda Star' off the east coast.
The company in a statement said the rig had tilted at an angle in the aftermath of cyclone Pethai which hit coastal Andhra Pradesh earlier this month.
The rig Olinda Star was deployed for ONGC operations off the east coast. After meteorological department's cyclone warning, the 111 crew members working on the rig were evacuated on December 14 and 15.
"ONGC made elaborate and quick arrangements for evacuating persons and deployed helicopters and boats," the statement said.
The rig was pictured tilting at a close-to critical angle after cyclone Pethai hit the coast of Andhra Pradesh. It was saved following an operation to restore the ballasting system.
"As the weather had been rough with large swells hampering the approach to the rig via sea, Indian Navy helicopters were pressed into service to ferry expert crew to the rig. 12 persons including salvage team members boarded the rig on December 21 morning and carried out the salvage operation promptly, restabilising the rig," it said.
ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker was personally monitoring the development.
"As per the inspection, the rig does not show any structural damage, and equipment appears to be operable," it said.
"The salvage crew successfully started the ballasting system to level the rig and could bring it to normal in few hours. The observations reported so far have been very encouraging. The rig's main generators are on and other machines and equipment are being tested and put to operations. The salvage team has confirmed that the rig is safe to operate now," it added.
ONGC said it along with its operator associates responded to the challenge with utmost alacrity and ensured the safety of both onboard crew members and the rig. "The rig will soon resume normal drilling operations."
This would be perhaps a record time for successfully handling a potential oil field incident of this kind.
"International experts were mobilised very quickly and taken onboard to handle the crises. The Indian Navy and local administration provided timely support during the operations," the statement said.
Olinda Star is a semi-submersible drilling rig hired by ONGC for operating in the deeper water of the east coast for its ongoing projects.
The rig, the company said, was fully certified by all required international statutory and regulatory agencies as well as by national safety regulators like OISD. The rig has been drilling for ONGC since January 2018 and performing as expected, it added.