India ONGC Makes New Gas Finds in Two Basins

NEW DELHI Jan 18, 2007 (Dow Jones Commodities News)

Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY) has made new gas finds in two basins in the country and is open to the idea of offering a stake in at least one of the blocks to a strategic partner, the company's chairman R.S. Sharma said Thursday.

"There have been huge finds of gas in the Krishna Godavari and Mahanadi basins, we are very excited about it," Sharma said on the sidelines of the Petro-Tech conference in New Delhi.

Both basins are located off the east coast of India.

He said the well in the Krishna Godavari basin is in ultra deep water that requires sophisticated technological expertise for drilling.

Sharma said the company is willing to offer a stake to a strategic partner such as Petrobras (PBR) of Brazil, ENI SpA (E) of Italy and Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY) of Norway for this purpose.

"We will move step by step, the well in Krishna Godavari is still under drilling, ONGC will like to do test appraisal in (a) few more wells before giving any definite assessment on the volume of gas," Sharma said.

He said the well has a target depth of 7,000 meters, of which 6,600 meters has already been reached.

The well, at a water depth of 2,840 meters, potentially could be the second-deepest well in India.

Sharma said the gas find offers new prospects for drilling in ultra deep water.

"We can confirm (the) availability of gas in commercial quantities in the Mahanadi basin," Sharma said.

He said the Mahanadi basin is a highly prospective area for gas but didn't give any reserve estimate or the size of the latest discovery.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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