ONGC Videsh Hopes to Begin Exploration in Iraq Soon

ONGC Videsh said it is likely to begin drilling for oil in Iraq in the next two months. "We hope to begin drilling in the Western dessert Block 8 in Iraq in next two months," OVL Managing Director Atul Chandra told a news conference.

OVL has held negotiations with US-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and had been given to understand that the contract for the Block 8, which was signed with the Saddam Hussein regime in November 2000, will be honored, he said. In the Phase-I, OVL will invest $15 million in reprocessing and interpretation of existing 2-D seismic data, new 2D seismic survey and drilling two wells. The block, that lies on the border with Kuwait, has a reserve expectation of about 645 million barrels, of which 54 million barrels was recoverable.

OVL was also in the running for the Tuba oil field in Iraq which can produce up to 200,000 barrel per day of crude. The firm was working on Iraq's Tuba oil field before evacuating during the 1990-91 Gulf War, and it never returned, company officials said.