We're doing our best on D6 gas, RIL tells government

Reliance Industries Ltd has strongly rebutted allegations that it is hoarding gas by keeping KG-D6 output low saying it is technically impossible to store gas in the Krishna-Godavari basin fields; and has sought the appointment of independent international experts to verify this.

"Hoarding gas in the case of D1-D3 reservoir (in the KG-D6 block) is a technical impossibility. Oil and gas reservoirs are dynamic systems and not inert, cold storage facilities. They are both subject to and respond to production rates and flows," RIL has written to oil secretary G C Chaturvedi, according to a PTI report.

In the letter, RIL executive director P M S Prasad sought appointment of a team of international experts of repute to independently verify its estimates as well as the actions that have been taken.

Gas production from D1-D3 has been steadily declining from a peak of about 55 million standard cubic meters per day achieved in August 2010. Its current output is less than 20 mmscmd. Six out of the 18 wells in the field have been shut due to high water and sand ingress.

"The world over, oil and gas fields are known to be unpredictable ... buried deep in geological frontiers, miles below the surface, surprises are a common occurrence. Deep water basins (like KG-D6) add to the complexity as technologies to assess sub-surface conditions several kilometres are even less perfect," Prasad wrote, reiterating RIL's long-standing defence about the gas output being far lower than originally envisaged.

Referring to gas reserve estimates of being lowered from 10.03 trillion cubic feet to 3.4 tcf, RIL cited state-owned ONGC encountering similar geological surprises in the Neelam gas field off the west coast and in Imperial Energy assets in Russia.