R&D Conclave 2019


R&D Conclave 2019

The Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) organised the third edition of its flagship event R&D Conclave, 2019 at Coorg, Karnataka during 11 – 13 July, 2019. Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) on Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and INEA Satish Dhawan Chair of Engineering Eminence, BARC graced the occasion as the chief guest at the conclave. The conclave was attended by Mr. B Ashok, Chairman, Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd; Mr A K Dwivedi, Director (Exploration), ONGC; Mr P K Sharma, Director (Ops), OIL; Dr SSV Ramakumar; Director (R&D), IndianOil; and Mr V S Shenoy, Director (Refineries), HPCL among other eminent personalities and sectorial experts.

The welcome address was delivered by Dr R K Malhotra, Director General, FIPI. Dr Malhotra mentioned that in order to achieve the Government’s ambitious objective of doubling the size of the Indian economy from the current USD 2.61 trillion to USD 5 trillion by 2024-25, energy will play a significant role. He mentioned that the demand for crude oil and natural gas in the country is poised to increase till 2040. To fuel the fast-paced growth of the economy, the oil and gas sector needs to focus on increasing domestic production and improving efficiencies. In this regard, R&D will play a key role in the future. He underlined that as BS-VI fuel standards are implemented, Indian refineries will continue to maintain a broad basket and there will be a need for improving the octane numbers of the product. He further emphasised that as the demand for petrochemicals increases in the future, the R&D teams of oil companies need to reconsider the product mix to maximize returns for the business. He mentioned that, driven by the Government push, as new technologies like biofuels and waste to fuel turn economical, the R&D teams of respective oil companies need to gear up in order to keep pace with the changing needs of the industry.

Dr. Kakodkar, in his inaugural address, mentioned that the demand for fuels will not fall due to advent of EVs. Due to the absence of supportive infrastructure for EVs in the country, the demand for transport fuels in the country is only going to increase in the foreseeable future. He opined that the country should target for petrochemical exports to support the refinery business. He suggested that India should move towards energy self-sufficiency and reducing carbon footprints. In this regard, more attention needs to be paid to renewable, bio sources and nuclear technology. He envisioned that the hydrocarbons industry of the future will comprise of Oil from wells, biomass and fluid fuel created through electricity generated from Solar & Wind. He mentioned that as new technologies are being developed throughout the world, India needs to bring these evolving technologies and work towards their development and commercialization. He emphasized that the oil and gas companies should develop R&D projects through collective and collaborative participation. On innovation & scaling up of technology, he emphasised that challenges need to be identified, and solution through innovative technology be developed inside the country. Gas hydrate exploitation may be one such area. He further suggested that the Government needs to offset any significant barriers to such R&D efforts.

At the session ‘Dialogues Over Dinner’, Mr B Ashok pointed out that the challenge for the energy companies is to strike the delicate balance between the rising energy demand of the population and the emission generated in producing the same. He further emphasised on the need for interlinking different types of technologies to generate greater value for the end consumer.

On the second day of the conclave, ‘Session I – R&D in Refining and Polymers (1) was chaired by Mr V S Shenoy. The objective of the session was to deliberate on the changing trends in the global downstream industry and provide the speakers with a unique opportunity to present their work in front of the R&D fraternity. Setting the context, Mr Shenoy pointed out that India needs to develop domestic technologies to increase crude to petrochemical yield. The speakers at the session comprised of senior researchers from RIL, IndianOil R&D, HPCL, BPCL and EIL.

The session R&D Upstream (1) was chaired by Mr. T.K.Sengupta Director ( E&P) FIPI who emphasized the importance of exploration scientists for their R&D efforts to find hydrocarbon reserves and discovery of new exploitation mechanisms. There were five presentations from different research centres of ONGC, OIL and also from ONGC Energy Center. Some of the key R&D efforts like use of Data Analytics for Reservoir Characterization in challenging deep waters by GEOPIC,ONGC, Use of latest tool & technology to understand , map & characterize tight reservoirs ,development of Microbial technology for production enhancement in CBM wells & role of Geochemists to exploiting conventional & unconventional hydrocarbons by OIL were presented.

The Session II - R&D in Refining and Polymers (2) was chaired by Mr Gandham Sriganesh, Executive Director (R&D), HPCL. Mr Sriganesh informed the participants about the cutting edge research being done in the Indian oil and gas industry and hoped that some of these findings will be commercialised in the next few years. He further pointed out that the margins of smaller refiners in the future will be significantly lower than large refineries and under such circumstances small players will either have to come together or will be subsumed by larger players in the market. The panel at this occasion comprised of researchers from RIL, BPCL, W R Grace and IndianOil.

Session II: R&D in Upstream (2) was chaired by Mr P K Sharma, Director (Ops), OIL. The session focussed on indigenous technology development for upstream operations and witnessed participation of senior scientists from ONGC, OIL, Cairn and Essar. There were five presentations. Some of the key R&D works done are development of drilling & workover fluid for handling subhydrostatic wells in ONGC, Alkali polymer flooding for EOR in Cairn India in Mangla field , Development & use of hybrid Gas & Sand separator in CBM wells by ESSAR etc.

Dr. Anjan Ray, Director, CSIR-IIP chaired the next session on ‘Carbon Capture and Utilization’. The session deliberated on the latest developments in the field of carbon capture and discussed various technologies developed by companies across the globe. Setting the context for the session Dr Ray mentioned that India is one of the largest carbon emitters in the world and it is high time that the country incentivizes economic carbon capturing and putting it to alternate uses. The session was attended by speakers from HPCL, IndianOil, RIL, Lanzatech and Carbon Clean Solutions.

The next session ‘Session IV – Biotechnology’ was chaired by Dr Sean Simpson, Chief Scientific Officer, Lanzatech, USA. The objective of the session was to deliberate on the latest developments in the field of biotechnology and its benefits for the energy industry The speakers at the session included researchers from CSIR-IIP, HPCL, Axens, IndianOil and RIL.

At ‘Session V: HR and Finance Issues in R&D’, Mr Biswajit Roy, Director (HR), OIL pointed out that to attract the best talent to oil and gas R&D, the private sector needs to play an integral role through investing in infrastructure and developing strong industry-academia associations. Speaking at the session, Mr Rajiv Bahl, Director (Finance), FIPI underlined that the contribution of private sector in financing R&D projects in India has been less than 40 per cent against an average of 60 per cent contribution in developed countries and there is an urgent need for private sector to come forward in this regard. He emphasised that the Government needs to mandate R&D expenditure under CSR and reinstate the 200 per cent tax deduction on R&D expenditure to provide the much needed fillip to private sector R&D.

At the session ‘Dialogue over Dinner’ on Day 2 of the Conclave, Mr Arnab Ghosh, Regional Director, IHS Markit emphasized on the role of innovation in the oil and gas sector. He underlined the fact that innovative business leaders generate seven times more revenue than their counterparts who do not harness R&D. Emphasizing the role of innovation, he further mentioned that to remain relevant in today’s business environment it is an imperative for organizations to continuously invest in R&D. His presentation on cognitive computing evoked tremendous interest from the audience.

On the last day of the Conclave, Session VI – Crude to Chemicals was Chaired by Mr N K Bansal, Director (Oil Refining and Marketing), FIPI. Speaking at the session, Mr Bansal stated that with the introduction of wide variety of fuels for transport sector, the growth rate of conventional hydrocarbon fuels is expected to decline in the near future. Petrochemical sector, however, has enough gap to grow especially in growing economies. Refiners thus will have to adopt technological configurations, which will provide the flexibility of shifting from fuel to chemicals and vice-versa. The session witnessed speakers from HPCL, RIL, Lummus Technologies and HMEL.

Over the three days, R&D Conclave 2019 witnessed dedicated technical sessions on various aspects of upstream and downstream alongside discussion on managerial issues of R&D and upcoming technologies, which will revolutionize the industry in the short to medium term. The Conclave provided researchers from Indian oil and gas companies with a unique platform to showcase their work and deliberate on the common challenges faced by these organization. R&D Conclave 2019 proved to be a huge success and witnessed overwhelming participation of over hundred researchers from across the oil and gas value chain.