Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the country’s top oil and gas producer, will invest over $2 billion in drilling a record 103 wells on its main gas-bearing asset in the Arabian Sea as it pivots a turnaround plan that is expected to swell domestic production by 100 million tonnes, a company official said.
ONGC has three main assets off the west coast: Mumbai High, Heera and Neelam, and Bassein and Satellite, which contributed the bulk of the 21.7 million tonnes of oil and 21.68 billion cubic metres of gas it produced in 2021-22.
“We have released a record 103 locations for drilling of wells on the Bassein and Satellite (B&S) assets over the next 2-3 years,” ONGC director (offshore) Pankaj Kumar said.
The wells will tap smaller and the untapped reservoirs in order to boost output.
“We estimate that this development drilling will enhance production by over 100 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas over the life of the field,” he said.
“The investment involved in drilling and in the facilities will be over $2 billion.”
ONGC produces two-thirds of all oil and gas produced in the country and any incremental production would help the country cut its dependence on imports.
India imports over 85 per cent of the crude oil, which is converted into fuel such as petrol and diesel in refineries, and roughly half of the natural gas that is used to produce electricity, make fertiliser, converted into CNG for running automobiles and piped to household kitchens for cooking.
The government has been pressing state-owned firms to step up efforts to raise domestic output to help cut the $115 billion import bill.
ONGC, which reported a gradual decline in output for over a decade primarily because its fields are old and ageing, has now got its act together by working on a comprehensive asset base plan rather than piecemeal field-centric approach.
■ ONGC has released a record 103 locations for drilling of wells on the Bassein and Satellite assets over the next 2-3 years
■ The wells will tap smaller and untapped reservoirs
■ This drilling will enhance production by over 100mt of oil and oil equivalent gas