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ONGC restores operations off east coast after cyclone Fani makes landfall

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Friday restored operations at its fields in the Bay of Bengal after a category-4 cyclone made landfall without causing any disruption to its offshore installations.

New Delhi: State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Friday restored operations at its fields in the Bay of Bengal after a category-4 cyclone made landfall without causing any disruption to its offshore installations.

Official sources said ONGC had as a precaution halted operations, evacuated some 500 employees and towed rigs to safer waters ahead of the cyclone.

While cyclone Fani made landfall around Puri in Odisha and is moving towards West Bengal, most of ONGC installations are off the Andhra coast.

Sources said all operations have been restored and employees are being moved by boats to installations.

There is no loss of production, they said.

India's eastern coast is dotted with oil and gas installations, including three refineries and numerous rigs and offshore platforms that are used to explore and produce oil and gas.

While operations at Paradip port in Odisha and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh were shut and ships moved out to sea to avoid damage, the refineries operated normally.

Sources said ONGC had six rigs operating off the Andhra coast, four of which were moved away from the path of severe cyclonic storm Fani earlier this week.

They will be brought back to their locations over the next couple of days.

The company began evacuating staff from the rigs as early as on April 27 and had by May 1 completed evacuation of around 500 of them.

Employees will be redeployed at the installations now, they said.

Fani or the 'Hood of Snake', labelled as a category 4 storm on a scale of 1 to 5, made landfall around 8 am in Puri on Friday, with roaring winds flattening huts, enveloping the pilgrim town in sheets of rain, and submerging homes in residential areas.

The cyclonic system, whose eye is around 28 km wide, is moving at a speed of about 30 km per hour towards West Bengal.