A leak from an ONGC pipeline caused a mile-long oil spill off the Mumbai coast on Friday morning. The spill, 80 km off the coast, has been brought under control. It is likely to be dispersed within 48 hours, the State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation said.

According to an ONGC statement here, the leak was detected in the Mumbai-Uran Trunk (MUT) pipeline at 8.45 a.m. The pipeline transports crude oil from the Mumbai High offshore fields. Production from the ONGC's Mumbai High field, the nation's biggest oilfield, and Bassein oilfield, was stopped immediately and the pipeline shut down. Output has since resumed and crude oil from the field is being transported ashore through a separate line.

Mumbai High and Bassein fields together produce 247,000 barrels of oil per day and the brief stoppage would mean that they would produce about 25,000 barrels less oil. The ONGC has reacted immediately to control the spill, Petroleum Secretary S. Sundareshan said.

The corporation said the leakage was observed two km from the BPB Platform (Bassein oil and gas field). Oil and gas production is being diverted to the ICP-Heera Uran Trunk (HUT) pipeline.

Vessels were sent to the site to ascertain the extent of leak, to contain it and repair the pipeline. The ONGC and the Coast Guard are implementing an oil spill contingency plan to minimise damage to the environment.

“The Regional Contingency Plan, which is the existing emergency response measure, has been activated immediately on detection of the leak,” the statement said.

Expressing concern at the impact on the local eco-system, Greenpeace called for tighter regulation of oil infrastructure and transport.