Oil India Limited (OIL) has started drilling to explore oil near the Konark region of Odisha’s Puri district after it got substantial proof of the presence of crude oil and natural gas beneath the ground in the area. Now it’s exploring whether it’s commercially viable or not.
“After the rig has been set up, the drilling has begun. The drilling would go up to 2,275 metres in three phases and would continue for 90 days. Only after the testing, the quantity of oil and gas reserves can be ascertained. All the big instruments and advanced machinery required for exploration have reached the spot,” officials said, adding that Oil India has engaged a private contractor for this job.
The drilling process to find the oil and natural gas is taking place in the Kushupur area under the Gop block, hardly 12km from Konark, where the famous 13th-century Sun temple is located. “The exploration process is a time-consuming process and one needs to have patience,” said the official.
The survey to find out oil and gas was held in the coastal belts of Odisha — Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khurda and Puri. While Rs 220 crore was spent on a seismic survey that was carried out at nearly 100 places, Rs 1,028 crore was spent on drilling and surveys. The 100 feet boring was done at various places identified through satellite images.
After the survey of nearly 3,000 square kilometres, Oil India zeroed in on areas such as Astaranga, Kakatpur and Gop areas, within 20km of the Konark. Later it focused on two panchayats of Gop Block — Kushupur and Mahalpada Panchayat — in the Konark region. The satellite mapping and seismic survey of the area were also done.
Oil India has also taken 16 acres of land for exploration of the oil. It took the land from private parties on a lease for three years to do the exploration to find out the quantum of the oil reserve and whether it was commercially viable or not.
“Until and unless you drill the wells, you cannot establish the physical presence of the quantum of hydrocarbon reserve. After drilling only by doing elector logging, the presence of hydrocarbon and its exact depth can be ascertained. The commercial viability of oil and gas exploration can be ascertained only by physical production test,” Subrata Das, a former employee of ONGC who worked in the field for more than 30 years, told The Telegraph.
Das further maintained: “In Indonesia, gas is found below 80 metres, which is highly dangerous. In other areas, one needs to drill more than 6,000 metres to reach to the hydrocarbon resources.”