Deepwater Geotechnical for D6 satellite survey

Vol 15, PW 16 (23 Feb 12) Exploration & Production

Reliance is wasting no time beginning its $1.592bn development plan for the D6 ‘satellite’ gasfields, approved by the oil ministry and DGH on January 3.

The next day on January 4 Reliance hired Fugro to carry out ‘geophysical and geotechnical’ surveys over the D6 satellite area. “We were waiting only for ministry and DGH approval to begin work,” confirms Reliance.

“Everything was kept ready in anticipation of pending approval.” Fugro, adds an industry source, hopes to mobilise Deepwater Geotechnical at the satellite fields by April 1.

“Fugro applied for defence ministry clearance to deploy the vessel this month,” he tells us, “and expects clearance next month (March).” Fugro will analyse soil samples from the seabed with chemical tests to “understand soil characteristics” under the ‘geotechnical’ part of its assignment.

Under the ‘geophysical’ part of the assignment Fugro will locate hard rocks or soil that could obstruct the installation of sub-sea equipment or platforms in the D6 satellite gas discovery area. Reliance is drawing praise from industry observers who say it is doing the right thing by carrying out basic engineering work before developing the satellite fields.

“ONGC never does this,” laments a source. “They spend less on basic engineering yet expect all their work done within timelines!” Reliance by contrast did not hesitate to spend almost $30m on Fugro’s geotechnical and geophysical survey and wants Fugro to mobilise vessel and crew at the earliest to beat the monsoon which begins on the east coast in April and ends in November.

“We hope Fugro can complete at least part of the survey before the rains,” says Reliance. Deepwater Geotechnical, we hear, is equipped to work even during rough weather.