State-run hydrocarbon explorer ONGC has found reserves to the west of its Mumbai High offshore fields, with initial estimates suggesting the new discovery’s size to be about 20 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe). The firm’s output has been stagnating over the last many years with annual oil production in the range of 25-26 million tonnes (mt) and natural gas output around 23 billion cubic metres (bcm). Though the zones at the well WO 24-3 are still under assessment, the new find is believed to be big enough to pep up the firm’s production in coming years. Mumbai High in the Arabian sea annually produces about 10 mtoe. The newly discovered reserves are located 10 km west of Mumbai High, which is 180 km off the city’s coast.
The national oil explorer has already informed the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) of the find, sources in the firm said. ONGC has been witnessing a fall in production over the years following which earlier this year a committee headed by DGH was appointed to monitor the annual work programmes, oversee exploration budgets apart from observing performance of producing or non-producing fields and accordingly make recommendations. The company saw a marginal increase in crude oil production to 6.444 mt during the April-June 2018 quarter compared with 6.345 mt in the year-ago period. Its gas production jumped from 5.49 bcm to 6.03 bcm during the period. For 2017-18, ONGC plans gas production of 25 bcm and oil production of 25.3 mt.
Shares of ONGC gained 0.96% on the BSE on Wednesday to close at Rs 167.55 apiece on a day when the benchmark Sensex slipped marginally by 0.01%. The western coast of India comprising other smaller fields along with the Mumbai High makes for 44% of domestic crude oil production. According to an official with the company, one of the zones tested of the nine at the WO 24-3 well yielded 3,300 barrels of oil and the others too showed prospects. Being in close proximity to the WO 16 well, the facilities established there could be used to bring the new zones into production. ONGC plans a capex of Rs 29,968 crore for 2017-18, of which it has been able to invest Rs 17,632 crore till end of August, as per data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell.