New Delhi: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries has begun natural gas production from its deep-sea Krishna Godavari basin fields, a history-making feat that will help India save $9 billion in oil imports a year.
RIL took just six-and-half years from discovery to begin gas production from the deep-sea KG-D6 block as against the global practice of 9-10 years, the firm said in a statement.
Dhirubhai-1 and 3, the first two of the 18 gas finds in KG-D6 that have been put to production, will transform the energy landscape by boosting power supply from idle generators starved of fuel and produce cheaper urea for agriculture.
“Natural gas production from wells started at 5pm yesterday and it reached the onland receiving facility at Gadimoga near Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh this morning,” a source in the know of the development said.
It took 13-14 hours for the gas to travel from the sea bed to the onshore facility. “The flare (at Gadimoga) lit up at 9:20am,” the source said.
The 15 million cubic metres per day of KG-D6 gas allocation to urea-making plants will help save the country about Rs3,000 crore per annum in fertiliser subsidy. Another 18 mmcmd of gas will go to power plants, with one mmcmd capable of producing 250 megawatt of electricity.
Petroleum Secretary R S Pandey said the output will rise to 40 mmcmd by July and to peak 80 mmcmd in a year, doubling domestic gas production.
“Gas sales will generate USD 42 billion in revenues over the 11-year life of the field... the government’s share is likely to be a minimum $14 billion,“ Pandey said.
Output at the beginning of production at 2.5 million cubic metres and will gradually increase. “Tomorrow it will become five mmcmd,” he said.
The first, of the 15 fertiliser plants, that will get all of the initial output, is expected to get the gas in 3-4 days time, he said, adding, “The most distant plant will get the gas in about 15 days.”
“It will reduce oil import bill by 10% or about $9 billion annually, during peak production, at current prices,” he said.
RIL will earn $2 billion in revenues from gas sales in 2009-10.
The company said gas from offshore is being received at its world-class onshore facility at Gadimoga, a small village in the East Godavari district, and delivered to the East West pipeline of Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd.
“Reliance has created history and has once again demonstrated its ability to implement complex projects at par with the best performance benchmarks in the world,” company Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said.
“The clean energy from the Dhirubhai 1 and 3 discoveries of the KG-D6 block will be a boost for energy security and growth of India,” he added.
The gas would boost power supply from idle electricity generators starved of fuel and produce cheaper urea for agriculture.
“It is a landmark in the history of oil and gas production. (The) world over, this has created a new benchmark for deep-sea developers,” said director-general of directorate general of Hydrocarbons V K Sibal.
The $8.835-billion (Rs44,175 crore) project will double domestic natural gas production when the field hits its peak output of 80 million cubic metres per day in 2010.
It will wipe out the fuel deficit at urea-making fertiliser plants and meet half of the 36 mmcmd gas shortfall in power plants. Reliance will produce enough gas to meet about a third of the UK demand.
“Whenever I have interacted with officials from global oil majors like Chevron and BP, they have been highly appreciative of the project management skills of Reliance,” Sibal said.
The gas output will start at 10 mmcmd and rise by the same volume every month to reach 40 mmcmd by July-end.
“Each well is capable of producing 5-6 mmcmd gas,” Sibal said.