ONGC has the unique responsibility of fuelling the nation's growth and is a pioneer of Exploration & Production activities in India. The Bassein Development Project was conceptualised by ONGC on EPCIC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commissioning) basis to increase petroleum recovery and extend the life of Bassein Field, located off the West Coast of India.
Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) and Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) have been working together since 1991 to contribute to the energy security of the nation. One more milestone was added to this partnership on June 22, 2015, when L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering Limited (LTHE), a 100% subsidiary of L&T was awarded the USD 421 million Bassein Development Project (BDP) by ONGC.
The prized project was on the drawing board for quite some time and was being pursued by a number of global offshore EPC majors. That LTHE secured the contract against stiff international competition was as much a matter of pride as it was a testament to the resolve of its people.
A Mammoth Job
The scope for the project covered Pre-Engineering Survey, Design & Detailed Engineering, Procurement, Fabrication, Load-Out, Tie-Down, Transportation, Installation, Pre-commissioning, Commissioning, & Final documentation for:
BCPA-3 Process Platform: Comprising mainly - One Gas Turbine Generator, Three Process Gas Compressors and other Processing facilities connected to BCPA-2 platform via bridge. Incidentally, BCPA-2 platform was constructed by consortium of L&T and Samsung Heavy Industries in 2009.
BLQ-3 Living Quarters Platform: A 50 men Living Quarter platform comprising state-of-the art living, accommodation and entertainment facilities for Offshore personnel and connected via bridge to BCPA-3 platform.
BH Wellhead Platform: An unmanned wellhead platform envisaged to produce oil and gas along with associated facilities to transport them to existing BPA Complex.
2 Segments of Sub-sea Pipelines: 2 Segments of Sub-sea pipelines (8" and 14" size and 6.75 Km each) connecting the BH wellhead platform BCPA-2 and BCPA-3 in order to carry Oil & Gas respectively.
Brownfield Modification Works: Project scope also included extensive modification works at existing facilities of BPA complex comprising structural deck extensions, interconnecting piping, cable laying and control room and switchgear modifications
Schedule – The Challenge is Set
The project was to be fully completed by December 2017 (30 months) with early delivery of BH Platform & associated pipeline by December 2016 (18 months).
One of the key strategies, which contributed to the competitive advantage in winning the project, was the single continuous installation campaign for all structures. However, this could not have been without blazing speed in early EPC stages. Meticulous planning, deep understanding of ONGC philosophy, working preferences, and alignment between all functions within LTHE was the key to ensure that this strategy was executed successfully.
The 30 month schedule for overall completion of the project including the handover of all the facilities, made for a tight deadline. To make sure that LTHE delivered on the promise, internal targets were set to ensure installation of completed platforms by end April 2017 (within 22 months of the award of the project). This was the most challenging target set in the Hydrocarbon industry considering level of engineering details available at the time of award and the complex project scope.
The mission required the project team to go beyond its own predefined roles in order to achieve its goals. Meticulous planning, intense strategy discussion to reduce the timelines, out-of-the box thinking and targeted deployment at various work centres in order to meet the commitments were the new normal for those working on the project.
Engineering - Designing a Complex
LTHE's own Engineering Centre Bangalore performed the Detail Engineering for BH Wellhead Platform, sub-sea pipelines and modification of existing facilities. Aker Solutions, Malaysia was involved for BCPA-3 & BLQ-3 Platforms while Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan engineered the Process Gas Compressor Module. Effectively managing these three engineering centres spread across geographies was itself a huge challenge.
Precise engineering, quick resolution of interfaces and adept coordination among all stakeholders were the rules of the game. Concurrent engineering was the key considering the extremely challenging and aggressive timelines. This approach requires many assumptions in early project stages, due to limited data availability from vendors. Monitoring these assumptions, and ensuring that work fronts are released both for procurement and fabrication progressively is very crucial to avoid rework / modifications in fabrication. Engineering & Project Management teams too had their work cut out as they worked hard to resolve inter-disciplinary checks (IDCs) to resolve any interface issues on priority and support concurrent engineering.
Another challenge was to keep the weights under control while modules were being engineered, as even a small increase in weight could have made modules beyond crane capacity. This would have altered the complete execution strategy of integration of three compressor trains in one module. Stringent weight control monitoring was another key to successful project completion.
Procurement – A Key Differentiator
Procurement timelines significantly affect the project schedule. In order to support the aggressive schedule, project specific procurement strategy was implemented. The Supply Chain management (SCM) team utilised its reach to a vast vendor base to source material and services from more than 20 countries across the world. A total of 176 detailed purchase specifications were prepared and more than 1500 purchase orders were placed under this project. The procurement process was also under pressure to meet the aggressive timelines as well as competitive pricing. Request for Quotation (RFQ) for critical packages and long lead items were made ready quickly to support concurrent engineering and fabrication.
In order to keep track of key packages, equipments, and components, dedicated delivery managers were mobilized to the vendor works to monitor the progress and schedule. This helped fast-tracking delivery schedule by more than 20% as compared to earlier projects in many cases.
The project team undertook many initiatives for organisational capability building, to reduce cost and improving delivery time. For LQ procurement and fabrication, complete in-house approach was adopted as against the traditional approach of out-sourcing procurement and supervision services. Living quarters was fabricated at LTHE's MFF yard in Hazira. All the components and raw materials for LQ were procured directly by SCM, with the project team managing the complete integration at ground level. This helped maintain better control on the cost, quality and schedule.
Another key initiative was demand aggregation in order to achieve cost efficiency for bulk materials including structural steel, valves, piping items, instrumentation etc. In order to facilitate this as well as support early delivery of critical packages, piping & instrumentation items were free issued to the vendors for certain critical packages involving significant piping or instrumentation work. Additionally, alternate approved vendors / new vendors were utilized to support timely project completion.
Unparalleled Achievement in Fabrication Timelines
Fabrication of 5 large integrated and complex modules, apart from wellhead platform Jacket & Deck, Piles was a mammoth task, considering the tight schedule. PMT team was further challenged as engineering and procurement ran almost concurrently. Continuous monitoring of engineering and procurement deliverables was required to provide an early work front to yard, while avoiding major risks related to re-work / modification in fabricated structures.
To effectively meet the Fabrication challenge the work was spread between LTHE's two fabrication yards viz., Modular Fabrication Facility, Hazira and Modular Fabrication Facility, Kattupalli.
MFF Hazira was assigned the task of fabricating four heavy modules of BCPA-3 Platform ranging from 2500 MT to 3700 MT (East Deck, West Deck, Turbine Generator Building Module and Process Gas Compressor Module); BLQ-3 deck (3500 MT), BH jacket and BH Deck and Interconnecting bridges while MFF Kattupalli was assigned the task of fabricating the 8-Legged Launch Jacket for the BCPA-3 Platform and the 4-Legged jacket for the BLQ-3 Platform.
Dedicated fabrication co-ordination teams were deployed at both the fabrication yards and assigned the crucial role of interfacing between the Engineering Team at three different locations and the procurement team based at Powai to ensure timely availability of drawings and materials in order to ensure the works progressed at the desired pace. Detailed constructability studies were carried out to identify possible fabrication issues and resolve them with proper planning. The Fabrication co-ordination team was active in resolving site queries and proactive management of fabrication related issues.
The schedule requirement was met by bringing concurrency in fabrication by taking measured risks based on established engineering practices. Tracking and monitoring with the help of Fabrication Dashboards was carried out at the senior management levels. These dashboards helped in identifying the critical areas and assisted in proactive management of critical risks and issues. The fabrication time for TGBM and BLQ-3 module was brought down from 19 months in similar modules in previous projects to 11 months during the Bassein Development Project.
In India, for the first time an 8 legged launch jacket (BCPA-3 Jacket) was fabricated. In addition, for the first time in LTHE, the heaviest frame of approx. 825 MT was lifted in tandem, using 9 cranes during lifting of Cellar Deck of MSF West module of BCPA-3 Platform.
To reduce the offshore work, ONGC operations team was invited at Engineering Centre for model review at Engineering Centres and at Hazira for module walk through. Their observations / suggestions were incorporated at engineering as well as fabrication stage. This helped build credibility with operations team and improved the user-friendliness of platforms.
The immense efforts by the fabrication teams at both yards, close co-ordination, expediting and monitoring of the fabrication progress ensured the delivery of all modules as per the committed dates and avoided standby of expensive installation spreads at offshore. The team also ensured that even process decks were sailed out with Zero Punch Points.
Loadout, Transportation and Installation
While LTHE has achieved mastery in loadout of mega structures, managing the marine logistics for Bassein Development Project was no small feat. There was interface with MHNRD-3 Project of ONGC and N-23 platform structures (Jacket, Deck, Piles) were also required to be loaded out during same period. Over 20 structures were dispatched from Hazira, within 4 months for the BDP & MHNRD-3 Project. This was achieved by detailed planning, aligning schedule with tidal variations, effective turn-around of transportation spread, and ensuring timely availability of statutory clearances.
For the first time in LTHE, all four jetties at the Hazira Yard were utilized simultaneously, which is a challenge in itself.
The BLQ-3 topside was the tallest platform ever fabricated and loaded out at LTHE with a height of staggering 48 meters. For the first time 3 compressor trains were integrated in single module at LTHE's yard.
The BCPA-3 Jacket, an 8-Legged, 6500 tonne mammoth was the biggest structure in the project. This was loaded out on skid beams pulled onto a 330 class 36 meter wide barge at LTHE's MFF Katupalli yard.
The marine logistics required for the transportation of 15+ large structures and 50+ supply vessel sorties to BPA complex carrying project material necessary for installation and hookup works. The experienced marine logistics team was well integrated within project team and handled these operations with ease.
The preparation for the installation stage of the project started from the engineering stages itself. Installation aids is a necessary detail, which needs to be covered during engineering stages to avoid rework at yard and any standby at offshore.
Installation for the project was subcontracted to a third party with a self-propelled vessel with dynamic positioning capabilities for the installation of structures as well as the pipelines. LTHE's Marine Team was continuously on-board the installation vessel in order to manage any technical or interface issues arising at offshore. Emergency response plans ensured timely resolution of any such issues for continuous work progress.
The offshore installation commenced in mid-December in 2016 and finally completed by end of April 2017 – an almost 4 month long Offshore Installation Campaign. During installation, last two heavy modules, TGBM and PGC, were installed in two consecutive days.
Brownfield Modification Works
The BPA complex required significant modification of its existing facilities in order to bring the new platforms online. Structural construction of over 220 MT, piping of more than 7500 Inch Dia and over 7500 meters of cable laying was required to be completed in the existing systems in order to ensure that new systems could be brought online with ease.
All these modification works were required to be completed in a live and running Process Complex. Advance interaction with the client at offshore helped in aligning the project team and provided clear visibility on schedule with ONGC operations team. The interface was of critical importance as four other contractors were executing their works in the same complex during the same period. It required intricate planning and a dedicated execution team to complete the works in schedule. New monitoring and progress measurement techniques were deployed to keep a close eye on the progress of works and highlight delays.
A Race against Time
An already tight schedule put completion of BH Platform on the critical path close to the contractual delivery date of the platform. While the earlier planned schedule afforded a seven day window to the hookup of BH platform, schedule impact on the installation of pipelines demanded further reduction in hook-up schedule. With the undeterred will of the team, the hookup of BH platform was completed in a record 3 days and handed over to the client in fastest possible time.
Mission Zero Harm
Safety was given the utmost importance every step of the way. HSE was effectively integrated into all the stages with commitment towards safety flowing in a top-down approach with senior management taking the lead in incorporating HSE values. Regular safety visits were conducted by senior members of the project team both at the yard and offshore. Internal HSE assessments were also conducted at all project locations.
With offshore installation of all the structures complete, the team is now focusing on pre-commissioning and commissioning activities leading to introduction of hydrocarbon into the facilities and final hand over to ONGC. Temporary facilities have been set up to provide additional accommodation to LTHE and its subcontractors in order to complete commissioning works through the monsoon. The team is now striving to deliver the project to the end-user well ahead of the contract completion date.
The Bassein Development Project is another feather in LTHE's cap and reinforces LTHE's vision and mission: To Revolutionize the Hydrocarbon Industry through Execution Par Excellence.