Oil & Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) jack-up rig conversion Sagar Samrat has finally set sail as a mobile offshore production unit (Mopu) after a delay of several years.

The Indian state giant confirmed the project’s completion in a social media post on Monday and said “the Mopu will now help produce 13 million tonnes [of] oil and gas from the Arabian Sea”.

The vessel is heading to Mumbai Offshore region from Abu Dhabi’s Gulf Piping yard and will be deployed at ONGC’s WO-16 field.

It has been designed to handle up to 20,000 barrels per day of crude oil, with a maximum export gas capacity of 2.36 million cubic metres per day, Upstream understands.

While the converted Mopu marks one of ONGC’s most-delayed and complex offshore projects, after being initially awarded in 2011, it is likely to rejuvenate production from India’s west-coast region.

Oil and gas production from ageing fields off the west coast has been on a steady decline, with ONGC pinning its hopes on WO-16 and some additional marginal field projects to offset the decline.

Vintage rig

The Sagar Samrat was built in 1973 and drilled ONGC’s first offshore well a year later, also in the Mumbai offshore region.

It has drilled almost 125 wells and has been involved with 14 key offshore oil and gas discoveries.

In 2011, ONGC awarded a contract to compatriot Mercator to convert the drilling rig into a Mopu, but its completion missed several deadlines over the years.

ONGC terminated Mercator’s contract in 2018 and awarded a separate contract to commission the vessel.

WO-16 operations

The Mopu is likely to be installed close to the WO-16 wellhead platform in 76 metres of water.

It will receive and process well fluids from the WO-16 cluster for an initial period of six years, ONGC earlier said.

Front-end engineering and design for the conversion was carried out by Wood Group’s Mustang unit.

Following processing of well fluids, associated gas will be compressed for export through the WO-16 wellhead platform. Produced oil will also be sent from the Mopu through the wellhead platform.

The WO-16 cluster fields lie in the Mumbai High area, 140 kilometres west of Mumbai.