Electricity grid, rig operators race to minimize cyclone hit

The cyclone could lead to extremely heavy rainfall (over 20 cm) at isolated places in Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Jamnagar districts. (PTI)
The cyclone could lead to extremely heavy rainfall (over 20 cm) at isolated places in Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Jamnagar districts. (PTI)

Summary

Oil producers including state-run ONGC having rigs in the Arabian Sea are also preparing for the landfall of the cyclone.

New Delhi: As cyclone Biparjoy heads for landfall on the Gujarat coast on 15 June, power grid and oil rig operators in the region are rushing to minimize the impact on their operations.

A top official with a power transmission company, who did not want to be named, said that stakeholders in the power segment are prepared and are following the standard operating procedure for such events as directed by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Power transmission companies including state-run Power Grid Corp are in touch with the Union ministry of power over the required preparedness, said people in the know.

Oil producers including state-run ONGC having rigs in the Arabian Sea are also preparing for the landfall of the cyclone. “We are evacuating the non core personnel from the drill ships in Arabia sea," said an ONGC official.

The power ministry in a statement said that Power Grid is closely monitoring the weather conditions and its transmission system regularly, and 24X7 control rooms have been set up at Manesar and Vadodara.

The ministry also said that the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) is continuously monitoring the grid supply for variations in load or generation to take timely action to ensure stable operation of the grid and also for alternative supply through other transmission lines in the best possible manner.

The Indian Coast Guard evacuated 50 personnel from an oil rig off Gujarat’s coast named ‘Key Singapore’, which is owned by Dubai-based Shelf Drilling and is working for Cairn Oil & Gas. Acknowledging the rescue efforts, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas tweeted: “Splendid teamwork by @IndiaCoastGuard @DghIndia & @IndianOilcl in evacuating 50 personnel from Key Singapore, a Vedanta Oil Rig, off Dwarka Coast. More than 12 sorties through #CycloneBiparjoy shows commitment of @DefenceMinIndia safeguarding citizens always #CycloneBiparjoy."

The rescue efforts and preparedness gain significance after 86 workers in the Arabian Sea died during Cyclone Tauktae in May 2021, leading to suspension of three officials of ONGC.

Queries sent to ONGC and Power Grid remained unanswered till press time.

Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director-general of India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday told reporter that Biparjoy may cause extensive damage and it is likely to impact Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, and Jamnagar the most. The cyclone could lead to extremely heavy rainfall (over 20 cm) at isolated places in Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Jamnagar districts.

Biparjoy is predicted to cross Saurashtra and Kutch coasts between Mandvi and Karachi near the Jakhau Port (Gujarat) on 15 June as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 125-150 kmph.

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