State-owned ONGC, which is often perceived as a drag on the crude oil and natural gas produced in the country, has actually seen its contribution to the national production jump to over 70 per cent from under 53 per cent a decade back, petroleum ministry data showed.
While Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) maintained production levels, output by other operators has dropped, leading to an overall fall in India’s output and a sharp rise in import dependency. Its standalone production at 47.51 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas in 2010-11 was 52.8 per cent of a total of 89.91 million tonnes of oil and gas produced in the country that year, the data showed.
Despite having majority of fields where natural decline has set after being in operations for more than four decades, ONGC maintained production throughout the last decade thereafter and had an output of 44.57 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas in 2019-20, which was 70.3 per cent of India’s total production of 63.353 million tonnes. ONGC’s output dropped to 43.54 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas in 2015-16 (62.9 per cent of India’s total production) but new discoveries as well as massive investment in extracting last drop from the ageing fields arrested further fall and even led to a marginal increase.
Even when its production dropped when compared to previous year, ONGC’s share in total production of crude oil and natural gas in the country continued to rise, the data which formed part of the review taken by the ministry a couple of weeks back, showed. ONGC is focused on finding oil and gas reserves in Category II and III Basins, which do not have established hydrocarbon proficiency.
This helped accrete inplace reserves of 2,246 million tonnes of oil between 2002 and 2015 and ultimate accretion of 1,014 million tonnes, the data presented at the review showed. Of this, ONGC realised 830 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas as production. It has approved 14 schemes for developing 135 million tonnes of reserves.
ONGC’s share in national production rose from 52.8 per cent in 2010-11 to 54.9 per cent in the following year and to 58.7 per cent in 2012-13, 62.2 per cent in 2013-14, 62.3 per cent in 2014-15, 62.9 per cent in 2015-16 and 65.3 per cent in 2016-17.
In subsequent years it was 67 per cent, 68.4 per cent and 70.3 per cent in 2019-20 — the latest year for which data was presented at the review.
During this 10-year period, India’s dependence on imported crude oil to meet its demand rose from about two-third to 85 per cent. ONGC discovered and put to production seven out of the eight producing basins of India covering 83 per cent of established oil and gas reserves.
In December last year, it opened India’s eighth hydrocarbon producing basin when it started oil flow from a well in the Bengal basin. Oil India Ltd (OIL) is responsible for putting into production one basin in Assam.