Haripur (East Midnapore), Sept. 28: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) today started drilling here for reserves.
This is the 46th rig set up in the Bengal basin and ONGC officials camping at Haripur village in Contai, 140 km from Calcutta, said the 3.3 km-deep drilling will take about seven months.
Experts said they are hopeful of finding the first traces of oil in the next three months. ONGC director (technology and field survey) . Lal switched on the 53.5 metre-high Branham rig at 11.30 am. The machine whirred into action digging up earth as hundreds of curious villagers looked on.
Lal said the drilling, being done over 100 sq ft by more than 100 personnel, is scheduled to be completed in 205 days. The giant drilling machine being used was brought from Kharkhari in Madhya Pradesh. The search there did not yield oil.
The Bengal government had been demanding for years that the ONGC explore the region for underground oil reserves. An ONGC team had found possibilities of striking oil here. We are optimistic about striking oil here. We had carried out research over 1,250 km before deciding to start on this onshore project, said Lal.
An ONGC official said the agency will start four offshore projects in the Sunderbans soon and a global tender has been floated for rigs.