ONGC confirms discovery of natural gas in KG, Mahanandi basins

New Delhi, Jan 18 | Updated: Jan 19 2007, 05:30am hrs
Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on Thursday confirmed discovering natural gas on the east coast in the Krishna Godavari basin and Mahanadi basin off Orissa coast and said it is looking for a strategic partner.

"I can confirm a huge gas find in ultra deepwater in KG basin and a commercial discovery in Mahanadi basin," petroleum minister Murli Deora said told reporters.

Giving details, ONGC chairman RS Sharma said the KG well in water depth of 2,840 metres was still to reach its target depth but "initial testing in presence of DGH officials has confirmed presence of natural gas".

Natural gas has been found in well UD-1 in the block KG-DWN-98/2. The well UD-1 is located 205 km south of Kakinada and at a distance of about 150 km from the coast line. The well has reached a depth of 6,600 meters and the target depth of 7,000 metres would be reached in next two weeks. ONGC will drill four-five more appraisal wells before it can announce the size of the discovery and the reserves it holds, he said.

WHAT LIES BENEATH

The gas find could be India's largest discovery till date, with reserves of 21 trillion cubic feet
The discovery of gas will substantially enhance India's natural gas availability
ONGC is looking at sharing the sub-sea facilities with Reliance Industries

"Production from such deepwater is a technological challenge and we are in talks with Petrobras of Brazil, ENI of Italy, Norsk Hydro of Norway and BG of the UK for a strategic tie-up," Sharma said, adding the company was willing to offer the partner equity stake in the block KG-DWN-98/2. On Mahanadi gas find, he said the gas discovery was of commercial nature but reserve estimate can be put only after few more wells are drilled.

It may take four years to begin production from the well. The gas find could be India's largest discovery till date, with reserves of an estimated 21 trillion cubic feet. ONGC is likely to produce 50 million standard cubic meters per day of natural gas from the find in the Krishna Godavari basin by 2012, said sources. The gas find would enhance India's natural gas availability. The current natural gas availability of 91 mmscmd barely meets half the demand. Sources said ONGC is looking at sharing the sub-sea facilities with Reliance Industries.