The coronavirus pandemic, which has been ravaging India, has spread offshore to some 80 workers at Oil & Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) Heera field operations offshore Mumbai who have tested positive in recent days.
According to Moneycontrol, a Mumbai-based media outlet, Heera production has not been affected and ONGC continues to produce 50,000 barrels per day from the platform.
Between 75 and 80 people out of a total of 230, or about 35% of the workforce, have been infected by COVID-19 at Heera, one of ONGC’s largest production platforms. Of these, 28 are ONGC employees and the rest are contract workers.
A source, who works offshore, told Moneycontrol that only two platforms out of six in the area are currently operational.
“On a platform called Sagar Uday, nearly 60-70 people tested positive and the platform was rendered non-functional. Similarly, work was also stopped at Sagar Ratna, Sagar Kiran and Sagar Shakthi,” the source said.
Regarding the stoppage of operations at the platforms, the source added that it may not affect production as most of them are used for exploration purposes.
The company has maintained a strict standard operating procedure since the pandemic broke out. Anyone, whether employee or contract worker, must pass a mandatory five-day quarantine and also an RT-PCR test before being transferred offshore. Those affected and those who have been in contact with them are immediately transferred to the base by helicopter.
ONGC has also sent a team of doctors to all its platforms, who monitor the temperature and other health parameters of the employees on a routine basis.
The source added that although Heera’s production has not been affected by Covid-19, one of the platforms in the area is shut down due to planned maintenance.
The Heera platform and the aforementioned rigs are not the only affected assets working offshore India. Specifically, India’s offshore drilling contractor, Aban Offshore, suspended operations for the second time on the Aban IV jack-up drilling rig due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The rig is contracted to ONGC and operates off the west coast of India.
Last month another Aban rig, the Aban III, was suspended on April 13. This platform resumed operations on April 24.
India is going through a terrible period due to the coronavirus pandemic and has recorded more than 21 million cases in total, although the consensus is that the figure is a gross underreporting.
According to information provided by various organizations, India recorded more than 410,000 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, May 5 alone. In the previous week, India recorded more than 2.7 million new cases of coronavirus.