Nearly 31 years later, India is expecting to get oil and gas production from a new basin — Kutch Offshore — starting 2017-18. Till now, only seven out of 26 sedimentary basins in India are under production. Cauvery basin was the last to come on stream in 1985.
India’s flagship explorer ONGC is carrying out exploratory work in the Kutch Offshore basin and has so far discovered one trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas.
“The work is in progress and we are trying to establish another 0.5 tcf of gas. Then it can be put into production. In a gas field, generally, recovery is more than 60%,” Ajay Kumar Dwivedi, director (exploration) of ONGC, told FE.
The Kutch Offshore is a shallow water acreage where ONGC has reached the appraisal stage. By mid-2017, the PSU firm targets to complete the appraisal process and move on for development of the resources. In the Kutch Offshore sedimentary basin, ONGC has four blocks bagged under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) auction regime, while another 700-800 square kilometre of nominated area is available for exploration and production activities.
Currently, seven out of 26 sedimentary basins are under production. These include Assam-Arakan, Assam Shelf, Mumbai Offshore, Cambay, Krishna Godavari, Rajasthan and Cauvery. There are estimated 10 billion tonnes of oil and oil equivalent reserves in these seven sedimentary basins. Of this, about four billion tonnes of oil and oil equivalent are recoverable reserves. Cauvery basin was the last that came on stream in 1985.
The move comes at a time when the energy demand, particularly for petroleum products, are peaking fast in the Asian nation. India imported 202.9 million tonnes of crude oil in FY16, 7.11% higher than 189.43 million tonnes of imports in FY15. In August, the demand for petroleum products witnessed the quickest jump of 11% year-on-year, highest in the past five years. This growth is primarily led by diesel and petrol growing at 14% and 25%, respectively year-on-year.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in a recent interview to FE that India has suffered because exploration surveys have stopped since the past more than two decades. The NDA government has now launched the National Seismic Programme (NSP), which includes survey of virgin areas and reassessment of hydrocarbons, and bringing all kind of data to National Data Repository.
“Previous to pre-NELP era, usually survey was done by national oil company — ONGC. This work should have been done in NELP phase too. But somehow the then system could not visualise that and for the past 25 years, nothing new could be discovered in any of the sedimentary basins,” Pradhan said.
ONGC produced 22.368 million tonnes of crude oil in FY16 against 22.264 million tonnes in FY15. However, the gas production scenario continues to be grim with output falling to 21.2 billion cubic metres in FY16 from 22.02 bcm in FY15.