ONGC Launches Deepwater Exploration Program

ONGC will kick off its deepwater exploration program with five wells offshore the East and West coast of India.

Three wells will be drilled on the East coast while the other two wells will be drilled in Maharashtra. ONGC has set a target of drilling 35 deepwater wells during the course of the year.

ONGC's Executive Director, Asset Manager (Mumbai High), Kharak Singh, said that the expenditure on each deepwater well would be in the region of Rs 80 to Rs 100 crore. ONGC plans to spend about Rs 1,800 crore for deepwater drilling activities in the current year, he added.

ONGC has decided to focus on deepwater exploration to increase its crude production. It is in the process of hiring two rigs for its exploration activities. It takes approximately 40 days to drill a deepwater well.

ONGC will also begin drilling on the 37 wells awarded to it under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), by the end of this year. It won 37 of the 70 exploration wells thrown open by the government under the first three rounds of NELP.

ONGC is going bullish on the exploration front and decided to invest another Rs 1,700 crore to develop three discovered fields in India. It has also decided to open up oil and gas fields for exploration to other companies, to increase crude production. Some of the fields have been discovered, but not explored by ONGC as yet.

It has opened up 94 discovered but unexploited fields. The exploration major has estimated more than 200 million tons of oil in these fields. While the gas reserves are expected to be more than 120 billion cubic meter.

ONGC has outlined a number of programs to increase the crude production. It will be spending about $1.2 billion every year in exploration related activities. It is focusing on early production system and higher recovery.