Drastic fall in RIL’s gas output: DGH

The D1 and D3 fields have enough reserves to support peak output of 80 mmscmd. However, Reliance is not able to derive the entire volumes out as the gas is stored in isolated pools, which are not connected to each other

New Delhi: Reliance Industries (RIL) has not kept its commitment on drilling wells on the prolific eastern offshore KG-D6 field that has seen drastic fall in production, reports PTI quoting the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).

RIL had committed to drill 22 wells on Dhirubhai-1 and 3 fields-the largest of 18 gas discoveries in the block KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block in Bay of Bengal-by April 2011 to produce 53.4 million metric standard cubic meters of gas per day (mmscmd).

Another 8-9 mmscmd output was to come from the MA oilfield in the same block, taking the total output committed in the Field Development Plan (FDP) to 61.88 mmscmd by April 2011.

Against this, it has so far drilled and completed 18 production wells on the D1 and D3 fields giving a combined output of about 42 mmscmd, DGH director general SK Srivastava said today.

Besides, two other wells have been drilled but have not connected to production system.

"It has to drill two more wells by April," he said but did not say what action the government or DGH can take if Reliance failed to honour its commitment.

Output from KG-D6 is to hit peak of 80 mmscmd by 2012-13 with Reliance drilling a total of 31 wells.

Oil minister S Jaipal Reddy also parried questions on what the government can contractually do if RIL defaults.

D1 and D3 gas fields and the MA oilfield currently produce about 50 mmscmd, lower than 61.5 mmscmd output the block had achieved in March 2010.

"This fall in the output of KG-D6 has been reported to us. Our DG, DGH is in contact with the operator (Reliance) of KG-D6... We do not know about the reasons for the fall... its technical issues. We are in correspondence with Reliance... we are in contact with them," Mr Reddy said.

Asked about the action the government can take against Reliance for not meeting its commitment, the minister said the question was "hypothetical". A well in deepwater takes up to six months to drilled and completed.

Reliance has projected that gas output from the D1 and D3 gas fields will fall further to 38 mmscmd in 2012-13.

In its annual work programme, submitted to upstream oil regulator DGH, Reliance has projected maintaining the current production levels during 2011-12 fiscal.

Reliance spokesperson could not be immediately contacted for comments.

D1 and D3, the largest of the 18 gas discoveries that Reliance and its 10% partner Niko Resources of Canada have made in the 7,645 square kilometre KG-D6 block, had touched 53-54 mmscmd of output in March last year but the production has fallen since.

"The fields have enough reserves to support peak output of 80 mmscmd. But what Reliance has now learnt is that the gas is stored in isolated pools, which are not connected to each other. It is not able to derive entire volumes out," an industry official said.

Some people argue that drilling more wells could solve the problem but Reliance has concluded that the cost of drilling, completing and connecting the well to the production system exceeds the economic value of the gas to be produced.

A solution to the problem may lie with London-based BP Plc, which is buying 30% stake of Reliance in 23 oil and gas blocks including KG-D6, for $7.2 billion.

"BP has faced similar issues around the world and its expertise will help Reliance overcome the problem," he said.

Reliance does not propose to drill more wells on D1 and D3 unless it has BP on board and the drilling plans are vetted.

Officials said Reliance has projected crude oil output from the MA field in the same block to fall to 12,050 barrels per day (bpd) in 2012-13 from about 17,000 bpd current production.

Reliance at present sells 14 mmscmd of gas from KG-D6 to fertiliser plants, 24 mmscmd to power plants and the remaining 13 mmscmd to other sectors like sponge iron plants, LPG, city gas distribution (CGD), petrochemical plants and refineries.

The gas producer has so far made 18 gas and one oil find in KG-D6, which it won in consortia with Niko under the first round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in 2000.

Of these, two gas (D1 and D3) and one oil (MA) discovery have been put on production. D1 and D3 commenced output from 1 April, 2009, while MA started production from 17 September 2008.

Reliance has been forced to restrict production from the MA oil field to about 17,000 bpd due to high water and gas output, sources said, adding that the field was yielding more water than oil and that even 8 mmscmd of gas in comparison to oil output was considered quite high. The MA field had five oil producing wells and one gas producer.

Furthermore, four gas discoveries have been declared commercially viable, while the Field Development Plan (FDP) for nine satellite finds was submitted on 14 July 2008 for approval.

The FDP for the nine satellite fields was not found techno-economically viable and Reliance submitted an Optimised FDP (OFDP) for four of these nine satellite fields on 29 December 2009. The OFDP is under evaluation by the DGH.

One discovery is under appraisal and Reliance has so far not submitted a declaration on the commercial viability of two other finds.


The pigsty that is civil aviaton in India (Part I)

Some years ago, a Tehelka journalist suffered jail for trying to expose the corruption within the civil aviation establishment. Today, that’s unlikely to happen. There’s a lot more than meets the eye in the matter of fake pilot licences and the media must ask deeper questions about the goings-on in the civil aviation departments

No reportage on the fake pilot certification and licensing scam can be really honest and legitimate if it, in the first instance, does not salute and acknowledge the stellar role played by Outlook and subsequently Tehelka journalist Kumar Badal in exposing this whole business of corruption and decay in the rancid and putrid mess that is called the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA. This was in the course of 2003 and 2004, and if people are under the impression that forgery and fraud in the civil aviation sector is a new phenomenon, then they are really living in la-la land.
For his efforts in this sting-among others-poor Mr Badal had to spend six months and then some more in jail and is still, from all accounts, battling the after-effects. One dared not speak against the establishment too much, even as recently as seven-eight years ago; the establishment simply trampled over you; that was the message then. But in this day and age, we can stand outside DGCA (less than two km from where I live, which is important, as the rest of this article will reveal), and bay for the blood of the corrupt, and all they (DGCA) can do is to request people not to panic!
There is no credibility with anybody at DGCA-from the security guard outside, to the highest authorities inside-to now pretend that they did not know what has been going on for decades. The fact that licences could be bought and exams passed without even being present has been the case since at least the late 70s, and I can vouch for this. That worse things happens in other aspects of DGCA's work, is also a fact, which people like Capt Gopinath of Deccan Aviation have mentioned more than once. 
 As a part-time hobby motoring correspondent, who also flew a lot in connection with my day job, I often wondered about the relative safety between travelling by road and flying by air, and I considered flying to be safer. Despite airport security officials-who became friends over the years-giving me horror stories on what they knew about skill-sets and capabilities of people in the cockpit, I always discounted their views. There was one account about domestic aviation pilots from certain airlines that compared them to and referred to them as "Blue Line/Red Line drivers", after the colour of their aircraft. Still, I stood up for the inherent safety in our skies.

The tipping point came in, or around 2007/2008, when far too many episodes and incidents in civil aviation were not just brought to my notice, but also involved me as a hapless passenger stuck in a seat somewhere in the airplane.

As background, way back in the late 70s, I had this vision of acquiring certification for land, water and air operations (in the Merchant Navy then, I had a driving licence that enabled me to take part in motorsports too, and I wanted to graduate from gliding to power flying).

I never took the power flying training further, because even in those days the extent of corruption involved was tremendous-fudging logbooks was the least of it. Since I was trying to do this as a hobby, I actually wanted to fly. But it just became too complicated and skewed. The whole system was geared towards fudging logbooks and moving people up the system as rapidly as possible.

So, I learned a wee bit, and then went back to sea. However, the basics of flying, like the basics of sailing and driving/riding, never leave you, and the ABC of flying, which is EFG, and in reverse GFE, is something one always keeps an eye and ear open for.

But there were more than a few who were flying at Delhi's Safdarjung Airport in those years who went on to become qualified and licenced pilots. Some of them are, or were right on top in the airline business. And they are flying planes with you and me onboard, as well as possibly passing judgment on those who have been caught, all the while trying to pass the buck. Which senior person in which airline in India can honestly say that she or he did not know this was happening?

To take this essay further, I was flying a lot as a passenger in the years between 1999 and 2009, the glory years in which India's civil aviation really took off. And I just happened to be on some spectacular cock-ups; the best or worst being the 9W flight, operated by a leading politician's son who later on went on to become a reality television prima donna, which almost went off the smaller runway at Mumbai, and an off-duty IAF pilot was sitting next to me giving me a running commentary all the way down.

I was also at Pune Airport, but not on the aircraft, when his girlfriend, later on wife, and now ex-wife, did an excellent low-level flypast over the runway to the amazement of all present, and then came back to land, only to roll past the point where other airplanes stopped.

I was also on board one of the earlier Airbus-321 flights operated by Indian Airlines, when we had such a hard landing at Delhi that the aircraft was pulled out for weeks after that. And as for my favourites, the small CRJs operated then by Air Sahara, I cannot write enough about some of the cowboys and cowgirls doing their stuff up front, and the major issues with pressurisation and aircraft maintenance, as well as fake spare parts that they reportedly had. It has not been said, but it is known, that the Air Sahara training flight crash at Delhi was due to fake spare parts that caused the rudder to move the other way. It is not just the licences of pilots that are fake, you see?
So, what would you do if the scheduled passenger aircraft you flew on went through some rather dangerous episodes, with you on board? The choices, as one who has been more than an interested air passenger for decades, are broadly in two categories:

1) The aircraft, crew and passengers survive the incident, everybody curses a bit; the passengers soon forget as they shove each other to get off the plane, and the cockpit and cabin crew may or may not make a report about the incident.

2) The aircraft, crew and passengers do not survive the incident, and since dead men and women tell no tales, the episode itself gets buried under mountains of paper and inquiry commission reports that may or may not see the light of day.

In between somewhere are the episodes and incidents where somebody takes things up seriously, by filing a written complaint, or is one of the few people to survive an incident in which many others have died.

Surprisingly, the survivors are usually so glad to be alive, that they simply do not follow up with the airline or the authorities. I personally know two such cases. This is also because "advice" given to them is that they better not make waves, or there could be a big question mark over the compensation due to them. Whether it was the survivors from the Alliance Air crash (in Patna), the Air India Express crash (in Mangalore), the Jet Airways crash (in Indore), or even the old Airbus 320 Indian Airlines crash (in Bangalore), one has not heard of survivors seeking accountability or answers.
Likewise, for survivors of heavy landings or such other incidents, the "system" at the DGCA and the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is designed to prevent queries, and to provide cover-ups to protect their own-in all cases. There is simply no documented way that you as a passenger can file a complaint, let alone expect a response to a complaint that you have as an individual, or a group of people, against an airline.

The truth is, once again, that the rot in the civil aviation business is totally top down. The only way the MoCA or DGCA can even attempt to try to fix things is by coming clean and admitting that there has been a total garbage-driven decay of the system for decades now, and that they will start looking closely at licences issued not just five years ago, but also at all those who have valid licences issued to them at any time in the past.
After all, why punish only defenceless juniors, when it is much worse at the top? The sanctimonious responses by DGCA officials, hoping against hope that this too shall pass, is not a solution that will work in this day and age.
Because, increasingly, there is no way that the establishment can throw us into jail for taking on the head pigs. And the other animals in the farm and barn are not going to keep quiet this time around. (ref: "Animal Farm")
 More than just the specific issue of corruption at DGCA, there is the larger issue that the media has a responsibility-they can and should work better and smarter to change the system. Instead of taking everything that anybody at DGCA (or anywhere else) says as the absolute truth, for example, we need to move out and re-check facts.

For example, how many senior pilots would stand scrutiny of their past record in the same way as the current juniors are being subjected to-it's an issue that got Badal into jail. Of course, that doesn't happen anymore.

And to round off, here is the text of the letter to the editor of Outlook that I wrote eight years ago, in this context, on Kumar Badal being sent to jail:

Kumar Badal's Jail Diary (February 3) captured on one page the essence of being a state guest in India. It would remind people of their experiences with state systems of correction in the days before the Indian media could really adopt freedom and dignity and nobody would have had the guts to even discuss such matters. We pigs may not have rights, we pigs may have to wait silently in queues, but nobody has been able to exterminate us pigs or prevent our piglets from being the most difficult creatures to tame or catch. And some of us pigs will always slip through. —Veeresh Malik, New Delhi (

The present generation in the media owes us more than just standing outside DGCA without asking deeper questions.




6 years ago

public memory is so shortlived. just last year after IPL there were stories of a minister's daughter ordering diversion of flight between mumbai and delhi to pick up some stranded players and friends! and post that gag order was issued. the particluar minister is no longer in charge of the ministry . During his tenure , the disastrouse merger of AI and IC lead to huge losses for the national carrier. His senior colleague , mr p@#ar is known to have stakes in two of india's most flambuoyant carriers. Now that they have been shunted out , i do expect some clean up to take place but the rot is just so huge that its difficult to forsee a complete overhual of the system. the minsiter and his family regularly feature in the inflight magazine of KF. personally , i avoid flying jet , kfa . both guys are in financial mess and its in such situations that fake parts become more attractive! jet fleet is old too. do feel spicejet and indigo have better systems , new aircrafts altough fake licence pilots were also found with the two. hoping a PIL is filed in this matter .



In Reply to CITIZENINDIA 6 years ago

Well, the reported buyout of Kingfisher debt by converting debt into equity at 68/oo rupees for 13 Indian banks (against market price of 40/oo??) is symptomatic too.

Shadi Katyal

6 years ago

Ever since airlines were nationalised and became a PSU,the unions of all kind were ruling the industry but there was some Law and order in the beginning. Atleast pilots themselves had some dignity and self respect but now it is open season for all.
One must ask this simple question that how long DGCA thought that they can get away with such lack of respect for life of the flying customers.
DGCA created catch 22 by asking airlines to check the records of pilots asking for jobs while DGCA has the responsibility. How did DGCA issued licenses to certificate holders of either closed or non existing training schools.
Rajsthan school was closed in 2008 and yet pilot licenses were issued with
passing certificates,how and why?\Does the nation donot care how they are thought about abraod,
Has the GOI and DGCA even thought of any accident and death of customers.
What about the tourist who will now not return to India as no one is ready to take chance with a nation who sells such licenses.
I doubt if Mr. Kumar and others arrested will be punished with life sentence as they will buy the Law .
How can any Indian show his/her face to others with scam after scam.How many pilots are flying with false records????



In Reply to Shadi Katyal 6 years ago

Thank you for writing in. Yes, the issues you have pointed out are important, and a total cleanup of the stables at DGCA is called for. The place is a thorough mess, and it is much more than simply licencing, the bigger money is in certification of aircraft, technical stuff like fitness, colleges, real estate and more. OBVIOUSLY licencing can not stay aloof from all this.

A big cover up is on, but let us see, what happens?


6 years ago

If only the Politicians who were in charge of civil aviation who were also part of the scam, then only the report will have credibility.Pilots fudged log books because it saved some money. 250 hours and 230 hours does not make any difference is known to the aircrew.
But the Airlines getting their C of A and Daily inspection report and fudiging on bogus spares is another story.
Expatriate pilots and the commission they pay to the civila aviation authorities through the Airlines is another story.
Upgradation in AirIndia and free layover in New York is another story for the politicians
Civil aviation is part of Government and our Indian nation which is corrupt.



In Reply to captainjohann 6 years ago

Thank you for writing in.

Yes, the bigger mess is in things like purchases, spares, technical matters, real estate, airport modernisation, and similar.


6 years ago

so instead of relying the bureaucracy called the dgca, why not let the airline companies themselves be responsible for the qualifications of their pilots?
the airlines should have a vested interest in hiring pilots who will not bring disrepute to their company,shouldnt they?



In Reply to pravin 6 years ago

Thank you for writing in. Airlines are simply interested in maximising profits. The aspect you have mentioned is covered in the next part.

WikiLeaks on India: A list of matters that figure in US confidential cables

Here are some of the issues related to India that crop up in some US Embassy cables and documents released by WikiLeaks and available on The Hindu news website

Here are some of the issues related to India that crop up in US Embassy cables and documents, that have been released by WikiLeaks, and The Hindu news website has put out over the past fortnight.

"Rahul Gandhi has no future, no talent for politics"

According to statements contained in cables released by WikiLeaks recently, accessed and published by The Hindu, Rahul Gandhi is not future prime ministerial material. For, "the heir-apparent of the Gandhi family dynasty," is said to have made a series of political gaffes in 2007, and party insiders were actually waiting for the entry of his sister Priyanka Gandhi into politics. The cable reports a statement by Nachiketa Kapur, a close associate of Satish Sharma, "Congress leader and Gandhi family insider", on 18 April 2007, that Rahul 'has no future, no talent for politics and will never be PM, as he has done nothing for the past three years.'

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1574319.ece

26/11 terrorist attacks-Grade I evidence

The dossier New Delhi gave to Islamabad on the JuD chief was drawn from the confessions of the 26/11 accused. On 21 August 2009, India handed over a dossier to Pakistan linking Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed to the Mumbai attacks. The dossier is drawn almost entirely from the confession of the surviving gunman, Ajmal Amir Kasab, and statements by Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin. The three are accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case. National Security Adviser M K Narayanan described the material in the dossier as "Grade-1 evidence."  This implies that the accused should be booked by Pakistan police and extradited to India at the earliest.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1574314.ece

India withholding information from FBI

The CBI had told the FBI team that "they were only sharing 'what we think you need to know'." The Federal Bureau of Investigation thought Indian requests for information on the IC-814 hijacking were "fishing expeditions", but it was concerned India was withholding information that could affect its own prosecution of the case in the United States. The  information the Indian government wanted was listed in two non-papers given to the US Embassy in New Delhi in March and May that year (Cable 29497: confidential, 24 March 2005; 32567: confidential,13 May 2005). The non-papers asked for information relating to the reported seizure of documents about the hijacking by US forces operating in Afghanistan.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1562668.ece

Sonia Gandhi overly reliant on coterie

The Congress, the US Embassy cabled, had evolved an elaborate culture aimed at protecting the Gandhi dynasty. "Mrs Gandhi's inner circle carefully controls her access to information, and inoculates her from criticism, while her carefully scripted public appearances protect her from making gaffes or missteps. This has the advantage of preserving the 'sanctity' of Mrs Gandhi and the dynasty, but can also complicate her efforts to wield power. This system prevents Mrs Gandhi from asserting herself and reduces her charisma, and makes her overly reliant on a selected group, which may not always have her or the party's best interests at heart."  The Gandhis, the cable continued, "remain coy as to which of their many advisors are 'in' and which are 'out', leading to endless speculation, and large numbers of people claiming to be close to the Gandhi family."

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1574328.ece

Ministry of External Affairs split over growing India-US ties

An Indian official is said to have spoken of 'two camps' on the Iran uranium enrichment issue. US Embassy officials viewed this as a typical Indian ploy to assert independence, when in fact they were more likely to have been committed "to solid forward movement with the US" on the Indo-US nuclear deal. India was more keen to appease the Left parties in India than to have closer ties with the US.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1571785.ece

India US co-operation weak-kneed in Sri Lanka

India-US military cooperation was excellent in tsunami relief, but concerns varied on rebuilding of Palaly airfield. When US troops arrived in Sri Lanka for relief work in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, alarm bells rang in sections of the Indian establishment, media and the strategic community over possible American 'intrusion' in its backyard. But US diplomatic cables at the time, accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, show that the official thinking in the US favoured utilising its military participation in relief efforts to strengthen "military-to-military" cooperation with other participants in the effort, especially India.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1568870.ece

Send strong signal to Dawood Ibrahim

"We believe the USG [United States government] should send a strong signal of solidarity and zero tolerance by generating a demarche asking the Grand Hyatt in Dubai where the money came from, and how.
''We should also ask the Hyatt corporation in the US how their local franchise could have made such a questionable decision," said a cable from the US Consulate in Mumbai, that has been put out on WikiLeaks. This was put out in the context of the wedding of Dawood Ibrahim's daughter, hosted at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1565546.ece

Naxalite menace in India

According to one of the cables, "Despite India's rapidly expanding economy, Naxalite groups in poor rural areas and their educated urban sympathisers continue to spread and have extended their areas of influence into 12 states, proving they can launch spectacular attacks on government facilities."

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1565519.ece

Failure to organise Dalits

"Despite the political success of Dalits such as current Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ram Vilas Paswan, Dalits' failure to organize at the national level has limited their ability to demand equal rights. Until the Indian majority increases pressure to change the status quo, many Dalits will remain trapped below the poverty line in manual labor jobs with few mechanisms for upward mobility," says a separate cable from the US Embassy, also released by Wikileaks.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1568814.ece

P Chidambaram's off-the-cuff remarks on regional development in India

P Chidambaram is said to have told US ambassador Timothy Roemer that India would have registered higher growth rates if the country had comprised only what are now is its southern and western parts. But the home minister praised the chief ministers of Bihar, Orissa and the Punjab, all of them non-Congress leaders. He made these observations when Mr Roemer made an "introductory" call on the minister after arriving in 2009 as successor to David Mulford.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/article1565389.ece


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