06 December, 2020

Up In Smoke

Are the blow-outs caused by seismic pressures?

Up In Smoke

WHY are blow-outs occurring with such alarming regularity in the Krishna-Godavari basin, where the ONGC is entrusted with the onerous task of exploring oil and gas? The ONGC has already dug more than 300 wells in the basin since 1978, and could tap a well to produce 100 tonnes of oil and 3,000 cubic metres of gas a day. The problem is, the area is considered a seismic zone, and the seismic pressures are blamed for the frequent blow-outs. Says M. Rangarajan, ONGC's group general manager (projects): "A blow-out is nothing but an accident. It is no less than a natural calamity." The growing criticism following three blow-outs at Komarada (in 1993) and Pasarlapudi-19 (in 1995), besides the one at the Mandapeta-west well on February 19, forced senior officials of the premier Oil and Natural Gas Corporation to do some soul-searching. Rangarajan disagrees with those who blame ONGC engineers for the Pasarlapudi blow-out. "Look at the rate of accidents during drilling by any of our competitors the world over," he says. David Barnet, head of Wild Well Control Inc., the...



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