Concurrent drilling to help ONGC raise output by 50%

Written by MG Arun | Mumbai | Updated: Jul 16 2012, 07:28am hrs
State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is bolstering gas production from its C-series field in the West Coast. Besides, the firm is speeding up block appraisal and exploration in the East Coast, which includes the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin.

The move is likely to raise the gas output of the company by over 50% to 100 million standard cubic metre per day (mscmd) by 2016-17, from present 65 mscmd.

Our efforts on the East and West coasts, coupled with some other nominated blocks, should increase our gas production by another 35 mscmd, taking our overall production to 100 mscmd by 2016-17, Sudhir Vasudeva, CMD of ONGC, told FE.

ONGCs plans assume significance in the context of declining production of gas from Reliance Industries much-touted KG-D6 block, the country's largest offshore energy field, throwing into jeopardy the countrys gas production targets and forcing user industries to import costlier gas. Gas output from RIL's D6 block fell to 32 mscmd in May, way below the targeted figure of 70.39 mscmd. The petroleum ministry has estimated this will further fall to 28 and 20 mscmd in 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively.

The ONGC chief said a new plan to do concurrent drilling holds the key to higher output from the C-series. Earlier, we had plans to get the first phase depleted and then get the second phase into production. Now, we plan to do it concurrently, Vasudeva said. The two phases, along with a third, will give 13 mscmd of gas from the C-series alone, he said.

In the East Coast, in the KGDWN-98/2 block in the K-G basin, where the company has got permission to drill six more exploration wells, it plans to meet its deadline for completing exploration and appraisal by 2013-end in the northern part.

Our deadline for completing exploration and appraisal is 2013-end, said Vasudeva. We are starting our appraisal post-monsoon, will complete it by 2013, and draw our field development plan.

With this, we should be able to put this field on production by 2016-17.

FE had recently reported that ONGC is looking to jointly develop the block with foreign oil & gas giants, and is in the process of sharing data with them. MNCs have shied away from the block on slow project clearances and other drilling challenges. The northern part of the block is less challenging since at 1,200-1,500 metres of depth, it is shallower than the southern part, which is 2,900 metres deep. In the southern part, where the discovery was made in 2008, it was 141 metres, the deepest anybody has gone yet in India. Since the technology is maturing, it is not possible to take a call on that, so it is for now on the back burner, Vasudeva said. He said ONGC will take more time to develop that part of the block.

Although we have submitted data on the commerciality of the block to DGH, we will take two to three years to scout for the technology, and only then develop, he said.

The firm plans to produce 20-21 mscmd of gas from the 98/2 block by 2016-17, and another 14-15 from other nominated blocks. Put together, we should be able to add 35 mscmd of gas, taking the total production to 100 mscmd by 2016-17, Vasudeva said.