India’s largest oil and gas exploration and production firm, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC), is investing Rs35 crore in a helicopter equipped to carry out medical evacuation from its offshore facility at Bombay High.
This will be India’s first so-called medevac helicopter.
“Pawan Hans is already in the process of putting fitments on the helicopter to make it ready to function as a fully dedicated medical evacuation helicopter. It will have on board all medical equipment and trained staff,” said a senior ONGC executive who did not wish to be identified.
ONGC has a 21.5% stake in Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd.
The helicopter chosen for the service is a Dauphin multi-purpose twin-engine helicopter which has a range of 150 nautical miles, adequate to cover the distance between Juhu heliport where it be based and Bombay High.
The helicopter will provide critical and emergency medical care to the 1,250 people stationed on around 15 rigs that the company operates at Bombay High.
The company could look at increasing the number of such medevac helicopters in the future, said the ONGC executive. Apart from the people manning Bombay High, ONGC has 1,250 employees stationed at its rigs and production platforms.
“As compared to 700 fully dedicated medical evacuation helicopters in the US, India has none. For the first time in the country, ONGC has taken the call and should be appreciated for this. None of the exploration and production companies in the hydrocarbon space today have such a dedicated medevac service,” said R.K. Tyagi, chairman and managing director, Pawan Hans.
“With ONGC’s personnel deployed across the country, the medical evacuation helicopter will be a huge asset. Ordinary helicopters can not give any treatment on board which in times of emergency could mean a lot of difference,” added Gurcharan Bhatura, secretary general, Foundation for Aviation and Sustainable Tourism, an aviation think tank.
ONGC has 10 hydrocarbon assets over the country including three offshore assets.
The company also has 4,000km of undersea pipelines.
ONGC recently launched a telemedicine network connecting one of its platforms off the coast of Mumbai to the city’s Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai.