India’s top oil and gas producer ONGC will invest over USD 2 billion in drilling a record 103 wells on its main gas-bearing asset in the Arabia Sea as it pivots a turnaround plan that will add 100 million tonnes to production, a company official said.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has three main assets off the west coast – Mumbai High, Heera and Neelam, and Bassein and Satellite, which contributed the bulk of 21.7 million tonnes of oil and 21.68 billion cubic metres of gas it produced in 2021-22. “We have released a record 103 locations for drilling of wells on the Bassein and Satellite (B&S) assets over the next 2-3 years,” ONGC Director (Offshore) Pankaj Kumar said.
The wells will tap smaller and hereto untapped reservoirs and help raise output. “We estimate that this development drilling will enhance production by over 100 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas over the life of the field,” he said. “The investment involved in drilling and facilities will be over USD 2 billion.” ONGC produces two-third of all oil and gas produced in the country and any incremental production would help the country cut its dependence on imports for meeting energy needs.
India imports over 85 per cent of the crude oil, which is converted into fuel such as petrol and diesel in refineries, and roughly half of the natural gas that is used to produce electricity, make fertiliser, converted into CNG for running automobiles and piped to household kitchens for cooking. The government has been pressing state-owned firms to step up efforts to raise domestic output to help cut the USD 115 billion import bill.
ONGC, which reported a gradual decline in output for over a decade primarily because its fields are old and ageing, has now got its act together by working on a comprehensive asset base plan rather than piecemeal field centric approach. Kumar said B&S asset has several fields including the prime Bassein gas field, D1 and Tapti-Daman. These currently produce 55,000-56,000 barrels per day (2.8 million tonnes) of oil and 28 million standard cubic metres per day of gas.
“We have done a reservoir profiling for the entire asset to plan the drilling campaign,” he said, adding new wells will bring additional production that will offset the natural decline in older wells and add to the overall output. The Daman field alone is projected to contribute 6-7 mmscmd of more gas while the Tapti field may see oil output almost doubling to 30,000 bpd. ONGC will adopt a similar approach for the rejuvenation of the other two assets in the western offshore.
Fourth phase of redevelopment of Mumbai High, India’s most prolific oil and gas field, is almost complete and the next phase is at implementation stage while the sixth is at conceptualisation, he said. ONGC is likely to see a reversal of production decline from the current fiscal. In the current fiscal year (2022-23), crude oil production is slated to rise to 22.823 million tonnes and gas to 22.099 bcm. In the following fiscal year, oil production will climb to 24.636 million tonnes and 25.689 million tonnes in 2024-25. Natural gas production is slated to rise to 25.685 bcm in 2023-24 and 27.529 bcm in the following year.