Sunday, 28 September 2008

KG D6: Team Reliance Achieved It Under All Odds


September 28, 2008
By Syed Akbar

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Over 2000 people, 12000 tonnes of equipment, 90 marine vessels
and waters as deep as 8000 ft.
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Team Reliance has done it. The world's largest offshore oil and gas production
system under sea has been put in place in just 27 months with several interruptions in work due to frequent cyclonic storms and rough weather.
Yes, we are talking about Krishna Godavari basin's D-6 block in the Bay of Bengal, where Reliance Industries Limited struck the liquid gold and translated it into a full production system, fighting against all natural hazards, 50 km away from the coast of Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.
"This event is, no doubt, historic in itself. But there is even better news. For this is just a prelude. Its impact on the fortunes of India... will be enormous, contributing to foreign exchange and import bill savings of $20 billion."
This statement from Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani, soon after the first few drops of crude oil were extracted from the Krishna-Godavari basin, simply sums up the exhilaration in the RIL camp that spent a little over two years on high seas and beneath the depths of the Bay of Bengal to achieve this rare feat. Yes, the moment was full of excitement and exhilaration as RIL's team of 2000
engineers, technocrats and supervisors disproved the naysayers of the world who had written off India's ability to produce its own oil and gas.
Four decades after India first produced its own crude oil at Bombay High, the Reliance team worked against all odds - storms, cyclones, low pressures, strong water currents - to build a huge oil and gas platform, which is nothing short
of building a high-rise building on the bed of ocean, with water all around and strong currents quite often hitting the men and machinery involved. The task is not simple given the fact that the Bay of Bengal, at its friendliest best, is the most violent host. Bay of Bengal is one of the few ocean spots where violent cyclones and storms are quite frequent.
"This accomplishment marks a strategic and emotional inflection point for every Indian. Getting to this epoch-making event has not been easy. Our people had to fathom the interplay of geology and oceanography. Drilling in uncharted waters under hostile weather, including frequent cyclonic conditions, is always hazardous. We have
operated an efficient supply chain system with sea and air logistics support. Essentially we created an entire production system 8000 ft under the sea. At the peak, we have over 90 sea-going vessels - to create a large production system under the sea," Mukesh Ambani said.
There's no adequate sub-sea data. Added to it is the low sea bed temperature of five degrees C, severe supply chain constraints and shortage of technical manpower. To achieve the marvellous feat earlier than the target, the engineers employed the state-of-the-art technology. Reliance deployed, Dhirubhai-1 FPSO, the first vessel of its kind in Indian waters with the capability to operate in water depths of greater than 1200 metres. It has features that can help withstand harsh sea environment.
From the time of its discovery, RIL has started production of oil in KG-D6
in just over two years making it one of the fastest green-field deep water oil development projects in the world.
The offshore block included the deployment of a 12,000 tonne control riser platform Dhirubhai-1, the floating production, storage and offloading vessel. The FPSO is capable of processing 60,000 barrels of oil per day and 15 million cubic feet per day gas and storing up to 1.3 million barrels of oil. The vessel is also equipped with a disconnectable turret mooring system, insulated manifold and short flexible flow lines, features that can ensure crude oil production even amid tough weather
conditions.
Dhirubhai-1 is stationed at the oil production site and shuttle vessels are used for offloading oil from it. Later, the crude oil is transported to refineries. This eliminates the need for piping the oil to the shore for onward transportation
for purification.
RIL oil and gas chief executive officer PMS Prasad said working at the KG D-6 basin was quite a Herculean task even for the most daring of lots. "We had to shift people during storms.
Moreover, our men worked on the seabed to raise the equipment. Imagine building a huge complex or a high-rise building on the sea bed. This is what we have achieved and that too in a short span. World-wide it takes around a decade to produce oil from the time of its discovery. But we have broken the world record," Prasad said.

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