ONGC Starts Exploration Offshore Bengal Coast

ONGC has begun oil and gas exploration offshore the Bengal Coast after a gap of about 15 years.

A well, 170 kilometers south of Kolkata and 68 kilometers south of West Bengal coast, has been spudded on March 22, 2005. Falling in exploration block WB-OSN-2000/1, awarded to ONGC under NELP II, this is the first among four wells to be drilled in this block by the Tranocean Nordic.

This jack-up rig is one of the four special rigs deployed in the world to carry out drilling in adverse climatic conditions like currents and cyclones. The well is targeted to a depth of 5000 meters, including water depth of 16 meters at the location. Senior officials from the CBM-BPM basin Mr. B Basu, DGM (Geol), Mr. Mr. R P Sharma, DGM (Drilling), Mr. D K Agarwal , DGM (F&A) were present.

A shore supply base has been established by ONGC at Paradip port in Orissa for Logistic and material support for drilling activities. The air logistics is being operated from the Kolkata airport.

The last exploratory drilling was taken up in Bay of Bengal in late eighties without any encouraging results. The recent gas find in adjoining basins like Mahanadi and Krishna Godavari offshore in the Bay of Bengal has enhanced the prospectivity of West Bengal Offshore. The geoscientists of ONGC are quite optimistic and hopeful of a significant discovery in the West Bengal Offshore Block. ONGC has already spent Rs. 175 Crore in 3D seismic survey, data processing and interpretations and other Geological and Geophysical studies in this block. The investment for the four wells planned in the first phase would be over 400 Crore.

The officials present in the auspicious ceremony of the start of drilling operation were very much enthusiastic about the prospect of discovery of a gigantic gas field near Sunderban Area. "On the basis 3D seismic survey, we are expecting very positive results. If luck favors us, we can get - not only huge reserves of gas - but a lot of black-gold (Petroleum) too," said Mr. Sharma, the Chief of Drilling Services of the Basin. On this, Mr. Basu quipped, "The gas reserve might be around 5 BCM – equivalent to 5 million tons of oil".

All the data available in the course of drilling would be sent to ONGC laboratories. If the results are encouraging, the dream of a "Kolkata High" might soon be a reality.

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