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Monday, December 24, 2012

A PASSION TO BUILD India's Quest for Offshore Technology: A Memoir by Anil Kumar Malhotra

KG gas: In search of expertise
As per reports Reliance Industries has shut its seventh well  B4 on the main producing fields of Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1&D3) in KG-D6 block "due to high water cut/sanding issues," according to a status report of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). RIL has so far drilled 22 wells on D1&D3 fields but has put only 18 on production so far. D1&D3, which started gas production in April 2009, had touched a peak of 55 mmscmd in August 2010 before beginning of water and sand ingress in wells.The company had closed six wells since end-2010 and last month the seventh well was shut.

It appears there is no expertise in the country to carry out technology audit (assess the reservoir capacity, optimum production rate,technological challenges and solutions). In this background, reading the book on Bombay High offshore production was highly educative.
Capacity building in technical consultancy  
The author, graduate from IIT, Kharagpur, master from MIT and doctorate from University of California, Berkeley gives a first hand narration of how Engineers India Limited was groomed by enlightened policy makers & bureaucracy and delivered by competent public sector engineers.
Manmohan Pathak a MIT graduate was first Indian Managing Director of Engineers India Limited (EIL) in 1969- a joint venture initiated by Bechtel to build fertilizer plants. But Manmohan had a dream to build EIL as a company that would provide service for any kind of process plant concept to commissioning. The author a researcher with patents and papers on offshore structures was spotted and invited by Manmoha to start Offshore Engineering Department (OED) in EIL. The planning commission entrusted to EIL the responsibility to evaluate various options for India's first offshore terminal at Salaya. From this first assignment, the idea grew that OED could act as the consultant to IOC in the selection, design , fabrication and installation of the system and thereby ensure that the closely held technology in this area could be transferred to India.
The rational for selecting a consultant in preference to an institute or lab was spelled out by author.A consulting organisation is best placed to provide the country with increased skill and bargaining power when foreign technology is purchased, since technological packages can be broken down in a more meaningful manner, thus leading to competitive prices since maximum local participation in goods and services can be built into the total package being developed developed for a project. A cadre of professionals trained in the handling of the new technology over a short period can provide valuable staff support to the government, the domestic industry as well as national oil company in future development.
EIL started as subcontractor to French soil consulting firm TLM in 1973 to carry out studies for ONGC Sagar Samrat.  ONGC discovered oil offshore of Bombay Highway in 1974 and ONGC with NB Prasad as Chairman reatined EIL/ Crest consortium to carry out a design review of the $100 million turnkey contract awarded to McDermott. With the success of first well project, ONGC bagan entrusting design of simple well platforms to EIL.Crest combine. Next milestone was work in 1978 on ONGC's first major processing platform in Bombay Hig, the BHN platform. EIL designed the platform using offshore industry standards and norms. A turnkey contractor was selected to fabricate it in Dubai under EIL supervision. Moving on EIL helped Mazagaon Shipyard (MDL) to set up facilities and fabricate offshore platforms designed by EIL.Finally when ONGC decided to build India's fisrt gas based LPG plant with $100 million investment , EIL became the primary contractor with foreign consultant Kellog international for deign vetting and performance guarantee.
Concluding remarks by author
Life had indeed come a full circle. Thirty five years ago , the civil servant chief executive of the national oil company had told me that we were a nation of beggars and that developing offshore technology indigenously was beyond our ken and capabilities. Thirty five years later, another civil servant, the chief executive of another state owned oil company was telling me that we did not need to develop any frontier technology and that we could buy it instead-equipment, materials and even management.  

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1 comment:

Praveen G said...

turnkey contractors in india
Liked the post. Looking forward for more like this.