The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Alone in exploration

Mumbai, Sept. 23: Despite getting the green signal from the government to enlist partners for the 24 exploratory blocks, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has not been able to rope in an ally for any of the blocks. However, ONGC is unfazed by the development and says it has the wherewithal to stand on its own.

Speaking to The Telegraph, director (exploration) Yogesh B. Sinha said most MNC oil majors are not willing to take the risk. “They will wait for the first strike to reassure themselves that there are sufficient reserves before entering into an arrangement”.

However, ONGC says it will follow the Brazilian model where Petrobras entered the field of oil exploration on its own without seeking any technology from multi-national oil companies.

ONGC has acquired a few rigs and also plans to lease rigs for the exploratory work. To facilitate this, it has embarked on the highest ever mobilisation of offshore survey vessels and drilling rigs.

ONGC’s plan is to double reserves by 2006. For this, it has secured 126 petroleum exploration licences (PELs) by nomination, to be relinquished in phases by 2006.

ONGC was awarded 24 out of the 47 blocks in NELP-I and II and has submitted bids for 23 out of 27 blocks in NELP-III.

It is currently in talks with the Sudan government for exploring oil fields in that country. To acquire equity in oil and gas projects abroad, ONGC has apportioned Rs 2,113.40 crore through its wholly owned subsidiary ONGC Videsh Ltd. Out of this, almost Rs 1,963 crore was for the Sakhalin project.

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