The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aussie fuel for Assam oil hunt

New Delhi, Oct. 1: Oil India Ltd (OIL) is going in for Australian expertise to give a fresh impetus to its oil hunt in Assam. It has sought help from Venezuela to improve the recovery from its Rajasthan oil discoveries.

Petroleum secretary B. K. Chaturvedi told The Telegraph that OIL was consulting Australian experts to reprocess the geological data pertaining to the Assam exploration blocks to locate potential oilfields accurately.

OIL has informed the petroleum ministry that its Assam operations are turning around and the crude output in 2003-04 will go up to 3 million tonnes compared with 2.8 million tonnes in 2002-03.

OIL had drilled more wells in the existing oilfields and had gone in for increased water injection to enhance oil recovery. Four horizontal wells involving the latest techniques have also been drilled in the area. These operations have started bearing fruit.

However, no significant new discoveries have been made in Assam in recent years and the existing oilfields have started ageing. It is here that the Australian expertise is expected to give some fresh inputs.

The Rajasthan discoveries comprise heavy oil which is very difficult to recover. Even though the in-place reserves of oil have been assessed at 90 million tonnes, the recovery factor is only 6 per cent. Since Venezuela has large reserves of heavy oil, it has expertise in this area which OIL plans to avail of.

The average annual output of crude in Assam by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and OIL has been less than 5 million tonnes in recent years, while the refineries in the state have a capacity to process 7 million tonnes.

The major ONGC fields in Assam such as Lakwa and Geleki Rudrasagar were discovered in the 1960s. OIL's major fields, Naharkatiya and Moran, were discovered in the 1950s, while Jorajan was discovered in 1973. At present, these three fields produce 20 per cent of the company's crude in the state.

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