The ministry of petroleum and natural gas has taken up an aggressive programme to survey 1.5 million square kilometres of virgin areas spread across 26 sedimentary basins to ensure presence of hydrocarbon in them. The exercise is pegged to cost about Rs 6,800 crore.
This initiative is in addition to re-appraisal of existing data of the sedimentary basins already taken up by multi-agency team headed by Keshav Dev Majviy Institute Of Petroleum Exploration (KDMIPE), an institute of PSU explorer ONGC. The idea is mooted to generate high quality geo-scientific data in a speedy manner with government ownership of data.
“Two exercises are being taken up – first to collect fresh geological data for 1.5 million square kilometres in 26 sedimentary basins. This would help to access whether these virgin areas, where no survey has been done in the past, have commercially recoverable hydrocarbon. The project would be completed in five years (2015-2020) costing Rs 6,800 crore,” said a source, privy to the development.
And second, a multi-agency team would re-assess the exploration data collected in India in the past 20 years. It would be spear headed by KDMIPE and would cost Rs 124 crore, the source explained.
The availability of substantive and quality geological data is vital for success of exploration activity in the country. Industry watchers have blamed non-availaibility of data as one of the reasons for global explorers shying away from participating in the auction of oil and gas blocks under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) regime.
“Exploration and production activities relating to oil and gas are largely dependent on the prospectivity of the sedimentary basins within the country…all efforts are being made to optimise exploration and production activities in India,” said Dharmendra Pradhan, minister of state (independent charge) for petroleum and natural gas.
The appraisal of 1.5 million square kilometres of new areas would be taken up by PSU explorers ONGC and Oil India. “Oil India would carry out the survey in North East areas, while ONGC would do it in rest of the country. The explorers would conduct 2D seismic surveys apart from drilling parametric wells,” said the source quoted above. It would be completed in five years starting 2015.
The ministry of petroleum and natural gas is of the view that acquiring geological data would enable in understanding the geology, hydrocarbon prospectivity and carving out new exploration blocks. This has become utmost important for energy-deficit India when the nation’s crude import bill has sky rocketed from $112.1 billion in FY11 to $ 155.7 billion in FY14. On the other hand, production of oil and gas from domestic fields is rather stagnant.
On the other hand, the re-appraisal of existing data of sedimentary basins would lead to clear picture for investors about prospectivity of basins. It would re-look into exploration data collected in the past 20 years and is targeted to be completed by March 2016 at a cost of Rs 124 crore. KDMIPE would re-estimate the hydrocarbon resources including yet-to-find hydrocarbon potential of the country.