Ravi Shankar Srinivasan sees the global floating production storage and offloading industry “standing on two legs” in the coming years as energy transition gathers pace, providing new market opportunities for floater operators.
A seasoned industry veteran with more than three decades in global shipping and in the oil and gas industry, Srinivasan has been chief executive of India’s Shapoorji Pallonji Oil & Gas (SP Oil & Gas) since 2008, spearheading its FPSO company and its emergence as a leading global FPSO player.
A seasoned industry veteran with more than three decades in global shipping and in the oil and gas industry, Srinivasan is the chief executive of India’s Shapoorji Pallonji Oil & Gas (SP Oil & Gas), spearheading its FPSO business and its emergence as a leading global FPSO player.
Srinivasan believes FPSO players should no longer restrict themselves to just oil and gas, but think about a wider context for floating solutions in the transition.
He sees conventional energy coexisting with green energy at least for the next three decades, leading to new opportunities.
“We have the knowledge for engineering, procurement and construction (of floaters) and what happens is that the FPSO companies operating in the conventional space will soon become the natural solid choice for green energies and wind energy, as and when things take shape,” he says.
Along with oil companies, floater operators will soon be deploying carbon capture technologies to enable FPSOs to be powered with clean energy, he adds.
“We’ll have an active long-term role to play if we remain sort of conscious towards the need for cleaner solutions, and adapt to bringing the technologies that solve this problem,” he says.
As crude prices continue to trade at highs not seen in several years, inching closer to the $100 per barrel mark, Srinivasan remains hopeful that the pipeline of global FPSO projects will remain robust in the coming years.
He says the FPSO sector is closely related to “price sensitivity” and has witnessed multiple floater awards in recent years as oil prices have gained ground.
SP Oil & Gas has delivered three large-scale FPSOs in India and Southeast Asia and is currently working on the execution of the FPSO destined for Oil & Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC’s) flagship KG-DWN-98/2 deep-water project off India’s eastern coast.
This FPSO is expected to be one of the few permanently moored internal turret VLCC FPSOs in the world that is being designed to withstand North Sea-type cyclonic sea conditions, he noted.
“The project will be a state of technological achievement for India and will put the country more than on par with existing systems,” Srinivasan adds.
Having established SP Oil & Gas as a market leader in FPSOs, Srinivasan now harbours global ambitions, and the company is already exploring opportunities in West Africa and Brazil.
SP Oil & Gas is also bidding for the much-delayed Limbayong FPSO, which will be the first deep-water oilfield development for state-owned Petronas in Malaysian waters.
However, after being in the industry for decades and having witnessed several boom and bust cycles, Srinivasan says that while the company has an eye on global FPSO projects, it will tread cautiously.
“Yes, have gone abroad, and we will be continuing to go abroad in a selective manner, where our clients see us as a valued partner,” he notes.
He adds that he has “learnt a lot of lessons from various companies when they grow rapidly” and would never involve himself in too many projects at the same time.
In addition to FPSOs, Srinivasan has also led the company’s efforts to diversify in the floating storage and regasification market.
The company, along with Malaysia’s Bumi Armada, last year signed a licence agreement with the Port of Mumbai that will see an FSRU stationed in Mumbai Harbour for 30 years.
Srinivasan started his career in the insurance sector in Asia but switched gears completely and joined Norwegian shipping giant Wilh Wilhelmsen in 1985.
During his tenure there, he was closely involved with ship management, construction of vessels, offshore oil rigs, budget planning and project execution — including one involving the launch of multiple low-orbit satellites from ships.
In 2008, Srinivasan joined the SP Group and set about establishing the FPSO company along with its association with Malaysia’s Bumi Armada.
Together, the two companies completed and commissioned the Armada Sterling FPSO at ONGC’s D1 field, a first for the Indian state-controlled giant.
He says the learning curve for the company’s first FPSO project was “pretty steep” but the project was completed ahead of time, laying the groundwork for many such ambitious floater projects in the future.
“It was a fantastic job because none of us involved from the SP group had a background with the FPSO system itself, but we had various backgrounds and managerial skills from other sectors, including shipping,” he recollects.
Srinivasan hails from Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu — he was born in a village named Kuttalam in the Thanjavur district — where he studied commerce and chartered accountancy.
He has always been passionate about travel and trekking. In one of his treks, Srinivasan climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest and separately trekked 174 kilometres to reach the South Pole in Antarctica.