Siemens in gas turbine trouble with angry ONGC

Vol 17, PW 19 (08 May 14) Exploration & Production

ONGC is furious with Germany’s Siemens over the breakdown of several gas turbine engines installed at process platforms at the Mumbai High.

Five of nine SGT 400 engines at the platforms failed long before their scheduled overhaul, forcing ONGC chairman DK Sarraf to demand a meeting with Siemens. A meeting was held on April 16 between ONGC director offshore TK Sengupta and executive director maintenance HK Khosale and Siemens's UK-based director of marketing and sales Ben Hill and other executives.

Sarraf could not preside as he had to attend OVL director operations interviews. Siemens agreed to provide two SGT 400 engines on ‘free lease’ to ONGC till the malfunctioning engines are repaired by the UK repair facility.

ONGC has been using SGT 400 engines since 2009. A new engine should typically operate trouble-free for 4.5 years or 36,000 to 40,000 hours before service.

Each overhaul takes six months. “These engines began failing from 2011, only two years after installation,” says an ONGC source.

“This hit operations badly.” ONGC uses the turbines to compress gas for transport onshore through pipelines.

“The turbine blades are breaking up and damaging other blades,” he adds. ONGC feels the SGT 400 engines have a faulty design and are good only for power generation, not gas compression.

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