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Aug 16, 2006 at 03:32pm IST

ONGC to restart Hazira to avert crisis

New Delhi: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) will restart its flood-hit Hazira gas plant in Gujarat two-days ahead of schedule to avert a fuel supply crisis particularly for CNG operations in the national capital.

"The situation is better than anticipated. We think we will be able to restart the Hazira gas-processing complex earlier than the previously anticipated date. We are hoping the plant may come alive on August 18," ONGC Chairman and Managing Director R S Sharma said after visiting the marooned facility.

Sharma, who took a chartered flight from Dehradun to visit the plant as soon as the 18-21 feet water receded, said Hazira would restart in phases, six million standard cubic meters per day to begin with.

END OF CRISIS: Hazira plant shutdown tripped half of India's gas supplies.

The shutdown of the plant, which received 40.5 mmscmd gas from ONGC's Bassein and B-55 fields and ONGC-Reliance-BG operated Panna/Mukta and Tapti fields, cost ONGC Rs 21 crore in revenues and Rs 16-17 crore in profits per day.

"Preliminary estimates put the revenue loss during the entire shutdown period at about Rs 500 crore and profit loss at over Rs 200 crore," he said.

The Hazira visit of Sharma, whose crisis management skills helped ONGC save hundreds of lives when a key facility in Mumbai High fields caught fire last July, infused new life in operations for restarting the facility with over 650 employees and labourers working round-the-clock to remove 2-3 feet slug, repair 1,400 motors and replace digital control systems.

Hazira, whose shutdown tripped half of India's gas supplies, would be back just in time before stocks for CNG operations in Delhi and some power plants run out.

The shutting of Hazira Gas Processing Complex has also affected the operations of Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur (HBJ) pipeline and its operation are likely to resume within a day of resumption of Hazira complex.

Sharma said Hazira complex was under 22 feet water for almost 50 hours and plant and equipment have suffered considerable damage, which would be repaired this week.

The company is currently rationing the 18 mmscmd gas available from LNG imported by Petronet.

Sharma said gas supplies of 40.5 mmscmd from the Hazira had to be suspended last week.

India's current gas availability stands at 91 mmscmd.

ONGC's Bassein field only produced gas and so the oil production was not impacted. The company's oil output (and also gas) from its Mumbai High field goes to Uran in Maharashtra, which was operating normally.

But in PMT, oil and gas are produced from the same wells and since gas was not accepted at Hazira, oil output too was suspended.

"Off the 65-70 wells producing oil in the field, only 17 were operating this morning," an official said, adding that the crude oil output was down from 38,000 barrels per day to 18,000 barrels per day.

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