[INDIA] Gas production from Reliance Industries's D6 field delayed

Reliance Industries is likely to see a 2-3 week delay in gas production from its prolific eastern offshore D6 field after two of its vessels went out of operations following shipping authorities issuing new norms. US-operators of Helix Eclipse and Helix Express, that were doing undersea installations in D6, took off their vessels from operation on July 12 after Shipping Authorities refused to renew their operational licence in view of a ban of vessels over 25 years in age. The vessels were, however, back in business on July 23 after the Shipping Ministry clarified that its 25-year vintage criteria will not apply to oil vessels who will be judged only by their classification.

The 10-day halt in installation work will see gas production from D6 being delayed by at least 2-3 weeks, an industry official said. "Gas will not flow before August-end."

He said initial production will be 15 mn standard cubic meters per day, which will ramp up to 40 mmscmd by December.

Reliance is investing USD 5.2 billion bring to production Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas fields - two of the 18 finds made in the KG-DWN-98/3 (D6) block in Krishna Godavari basin. Alongside, it is also developing the MA oil field in the same block.

Oil production is also likely to start by September. Volumes will ramp up to 80 mmscmd within first year of production. Peak oil output is seen at 40,000 barrels per day (2 mn tons per annum).

DG Shipping had in April banned operation of all vessels of more than 25 years age, potentially crippling offshore oil and gas production. It later announced that vitange will not be the criteria for oil vessels. Oil vessels will be judged by the their safety certifications.

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