ONGC To Begin Drilling Work At 37 Wells By Year-end

Mumbai, June 26: | Updated: Jun 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will begin drilling on the 37 wells awarded to it under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), by the end of this year. A year after the first block was awarded to the company under the policy, the process of finalising contracts for two rigs from overseas bidders is yet to be completed.

A company official said that ONCG has received bids from Norwegian and European companies, which are under scrutiny. Since we are a government organisation, we have to be transparent and hence the delay in commencing the drilling work, the official reasoned. He added that hiring of rigs is very expensive and hence the company was treading cautiously. The cost of hiring a rig is Rs 1.5 crore per day.

ONGC bagged 37 of the 70 exploration wells thrown open by the government under the first three round of NELP. The government is presently doing roadshows for the fourth round of NELP under which 22 wells have been offered.

The official added that it takes approximately 40 days to drill a deep water well. He added that the two rigs would be used to drill all the wells awarded under NELP.

ONGC is going bullish on the exploration front and has earmarked Rs 1,700 crore for development drilling in the current fiscal. The company has decided to invest another Rs 1,700 crore to develop three discovered fields in India.

The company has also decided to open up oil and gas fields for exploration to other companies, to increase crude production. Some of the fields have been discovered, but not explored by ONGC as yet.

ONGC has opened up 94 discovered but unexploited fields. The exploration major has estimated more than 200 million tonne of oil in these fields. While the gas reserves are expected to be more than 120 billion cubic metre.

ONGC has chalked out a number of programmes to increase the crude production. The company would be spending about $1.2 billion every year in exploration related activities. The company is focussing on early production system and higher recovery.

ONGC is in the final stages of identifying partners for technical assistance for deepwater exploration for the nominated blocks it bagged under the NELP.