||Mumbai offshore, India
||27 July 2005
A vessel collided with the offshore Mumbai High North platform,
160 km west of the Mumbai coast, causing a major fire,
completely destroying the platform and resulting in 11
deaths and 11 others missing.
Fire duration = 2 hours
||Complete collapse of the platform
||No information available
||Oil and natural gas processing platform
The Mumbai (or Bombay) High field is India's largest offshore
oil and gas field. The Mumbai High Basin is 75 km long and 25
km wide, located in the Arabian Sea about 160 km west of the
Mumbai coast. The oil and gas field is divided into the north
and south blocks and has been operating by the Oil and Natural
Gas Corporation (ONGC) since 1974.
The Mumbai High North (MHN) platform, a 30 years old 7-storey
steel structure, was an oil and natural gas processing complex
which had a capacity of 80,000 barrels per day of crude production
(see Figure 1). It was connected to an unmanned NA drilling platform,
the BHF platform with residential quarters and the WIN platform
also with residential quarters. All these were interconnected
by bridges. The MHN facility separated oil and gas carried by
risers from the nearby wells, below the NA and BHF platforms,
and sent them onshore by separate undersea pipelines.
Figure 1 The Mumbai High North platform is at
the middle of the photo (Photo: ONGC)
Fire Protection System
No information is currently available in the public domain.
On 27 July 2005, a multi-purpose support (MPS) vessel collided
into the MHN and ruptured a riser carrying oil from the undersea
wells to the MHN facility at 04:05 India time, resulting in the
break out of a major fire. At that time, the MPS was engaged
in a medical evacuation operation in which an injured cook aboard
was being transferred to the MHN for medical treatment.
However, in heavy wind and high tide, the MSV reportedly lost
control and collided with a riser. The riser broke and crude
oil started leaking. The oil caught fire and gas, under high
pressure, began to escape. It was reported that a ball of flame
fell on the MHN and there was explosion on the platform.
The fire was so intense that the MHN was abandoned in accordance
with the disaster mangement plan of offshore operators. Within
two hours, the whole platform collapsed into the sea with a few
foundation piers left (see Figure 2). A Pawan helicopter positioned
on it was also lost.
The MPS also caught fire and was towed away by another multi-purpose
support vessel but sank on 1 August 2005, about 12 nautical miles
from the Mumbai coastline.
A total of 384 personnel were on the MHN complex, the two MPS
vessels and an offshore oil rig Noble Charlie Yester at that
time. Among them, 11 people died and 11 others were reported
missing. The rest were rescued by a combined force of offshore
supply vessels, helicopters, and vessels of Indian Navy and Coast
The flow of oil and gas from the affected wells was shut down
through the sub-surface safety valves, preventing a large area
Figure 2 The Mumbai High North platform was completely
destroyed (Photo: ONGC)
The MHN was completely destroyed in the 2005 fire, along with
a helicopter positioned in it. The multi-purpose support vessel
causing the fire sank few days later.
The incident shows the catastrophic consequence of an oil rig
fire. The unlimited supply of fuel and oxygen normally contribute
to the extremely rapid growth and spread of the fire.
Under normal practice, a multi purpose support vessel can only
engage an oil rig under normal weather conditions. In addition,
the incident vessel was a dynamically positioned vessel with
computer-controlled thrusters which could remain in one position
on the sea. It was still not clear why the vessel went so close
to the MHN, went out of control and hit the riser.
Sources of Information
- BBC News Online / World / South Asia - UK Edition
- Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (India). (2005) Suo
Moto Statement in the Lok Sabha By Petroleum Minister in Respect
of Fire Accident in Mumbai High North Platform 0f ONGC.
- Subramanian, T.S. (2003). "Special Feature: ONGC - For
a new high." Frontline, 20(02).
- Subramanian, T.S. and Katakam, A. (2005). "Disaster-A
platform lost." Frontline, 22(17).