ONGC Plans Oil Exploration in Bengal
Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is set to start its maiden exploratory drilling on an onshore oil block in West Bengal.
"We have decided to dig two exploratory wells in villages Ladhi and Dangi near Chakaliya in Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal for which we have just applied to the state government for necessary approval," an official of the state-owned oil and gas explorer told DNA Money.
The area in Uttar Dinajpur falls under Block PA-ONN-2005/1 of the Purnea basin, which ONGC bagged under the seventh round of auction under the New Exploration Licensing Policy, or Nelp VII, in 2008. The production sharing contract was signed in December 2008, while the exploration licence was granted a year later. The block covers an area of 1,069 square km.
Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd's Pollution Control Research Institute at Haridwar has already completed the environment impact assessment on behalf of ONGC for this onshore block.
The environmental approval for exploration would be given following a public hearing of the project to be held in April. Exploratory drilling is undertaken to establish the presence of hydrocarbons indicated by seismic survey and interpretation of data. "This activity would take around 3-4 months under normal conditions," the official said.
The drilling site is surrounded by agricultural field and ONGC has assured the state government that the well head facilities would be located in such a manner avoiding settlements.
According to the petroleum ministry, gas discovery in Salbanhat, Bangladesh, close to the Indo-Bangladesh border, up to which the Purnea block extends suggests that the equivalent sediments would be prospective in this part also.
Focus on exploring the Purnea onshore block covering West Bengal and Bihar comes at a time when ONGC has not been quite successful in striking any major oil and gas find in the country in recent times at a scale achieved by private sector rival Reliance and when some of its own onshore blocks in the north-east basin is set to peak in two years.
This article was originally published on March 7.
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