RIL-BP avert shutdown of KG D6 fields

Reliance Industries and its partner BP plc of UK have averted a possible shutdown of the KG-D6 gas fields after they got long-delayed approvals to take remedial action to stop water ingress from choking wells.

With Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily approving of the remedial measures that were pending for nearly 18 months, RIL-BP last week added the first production well on the block in more than four years to ramp up output by over 15% to 13.7 million standard cubic metres per day.

This well, which will add up to two mmmscmd to the output, as well as water pluggings adding smaller volumes, could have come a year back and averted complete stoppage of gas supplies to power plants.

BP India head Sashi Mukundan said the two partners are currently attempting to cut off water ingress into three wells on the main Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1&D3) gas fields and if successful will do the same on a similar number of wells in 2015.

In between, they will also install a compressor at the onshore terminal to pull the gas up from the wells that are over a kilometre below the sea.

On MA field, also in KG-D6 block, RIL-BP added the MA-8 well on January 2 and plan to do drill a branch well (called side tracking) later this year by re-entering a shut well. He said, "this is part of the next phase of producing the gas in the MA field after the oil has been produced".

A similar side-track well is planned on D1&D3 in 2015 and another one may be looked at on MA in 2015 if the results of the one planned this year is successful, he said.

"We are currently doing water shut-off (WSO) job on three wells on D1&D3 gas fields before we install a compressor in first half of 2015," he said.

The KG-D6 fields had scaled to become India's largest producing gas fields in March 2010 but in less than a year it witnessed unanticipated water and sand ingress shutting down well after well.

BP, which bought 30% stake in KG-D6 and 20 other blocks of RIL for $7.2 billion, flew in a number of experts from its worldwide operations and on its part RIL experts engaged at BP's deep water technical facilities in Sunbury, UK and in Houston, Texas to look for remedies.

The situation demanded immediate interventions like re-entry into the water flooded wells to plug seepage and install compressor that could pump out the gas.

However, approvals for the remedial actions which otherwise should have come as part of routine annual budgets, were blocks by both the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and the Oil Ministry over a dispute about CAG auditing RIL accounts. This resulted in the shut-in of more wells.

With 10 out of the 18 wells on D1&D3 shutting down and a third of the six on MA closed due to water and sand ingress, there appeared on the horizon a situation where systems would shutdown if just a tenth of the gas flowed in a design capacity of 80 mmscmd.

"RIL as operator with the support of BP experts have worked very hard to avert a shutdown," he said.

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