Reliance Industries Ltd. and BP Plc announced the start of production on Dec. 18 from the R Cluster, ultradeepwater gas field in block KG D6 off the east coast of India.

In a joint release, the companies said they are developing three deepwater gas projects in block KG D6—R Cluster, Satellites Cluster and MJ. The projects will utilize the existing hub infrastructure in KG D6 block.

Together, the KG D6 projects are expected to meet roughly 15% of India’s gas demand by 2023.

“This start-up is another example of the possibility of our partnership with Reliance, bringing the best of both companies to help meet India’s rapidly expanding energy needs,” BP CEO Bernard Looney said in a statement. “Growing India’s own production of cleaner-burning gas to meet a significant portion of its energy demand, these three new KG D6 projects will support the country’s drive to shape and improve its future energy mix.”

R Cluster is the first of the three KG D6 projects to come onstream. The field is located about 60 km from the existing KG D6 control and riser platform (CRP) off the Kakinada coast and comprises a subsea production system tied back to CRP via a subsea pipeline.

Located at a water depth of greater than 2,000 m, the R Cluster is the deepest offshore gas field in Asia. The field is expected to reach plateau gas production of about 12.9 million standard cubic meters per day (MMscm/d) in 2021.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance, added: “We are proud of our partnership with bp that combines our expertise in commissioning gas projects expeditiously, under some of the most challenging geographical and weather conditions. This is a significant milestone in India's energy landscape, for a cleaner and greener gas-based economy. Through our deepwater infrastructure in the Krishna Godavari Basin, we expect to produce gas and meet the growing clean energy requirements of the nation.”

Peak gas production from the three KG D6 fields is expected to be around 30 MMscm/d—or the equivalent of 1 Bcf/d—by 2023. This is expected to be about 25% of India’s domestic production and will help reduce the country’s dependence on imported gas, according to the release.

Reliance is the operator of KG D6 with a 66.67% participating interest. BP holds a 33.33% participating interest.

The next project, the Satellites Cluster, is expected to come onstream in 2021 followed by the MJ project in 2022.