India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) has discovered oil and gas in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, paving the way for two new sedimentary basins to be developed, exploration director Ajay Kumar Dwivedi has said.
ONGC is already in the process of adding the offshore Kutch Basin to India’s hydrocarbons map, bringing the number of producing basins in the country to eight. ONGC has opened six of India’s seven basins under commercial production. "Cauvery, the seventh basin, was opened in 1985. We are looking at adding three more basins in the next five years," Dwivedi said.
ONGC launched first commercial production in Cambay, Mumbai Offshore, Rajasthan, Krishna Godavari (KG), Cauvery, and Assam Arakan Fold Belt. The Assam shelf was the exception.
In Madhya Pradesh, the firm is testing a gas discovery in a Vindhyan Basin block. "The find is at 3,000-plus metres. ONGC has drilled four wells after the discovery and will now [hydraulically fracture] it by the end of the year to test commerciality," Dwivedi said.
In West Bengal, an oil and gas discovery was made in a well in Ashoknagar municipality in North 24 Parganas District. "One lakh [100,000] cubic metres per day of gas flowed from one target that was tested. Now, the firm will appraise the find," Dwivedi said.
ONGC made a significant gas discovery a few months ago in the Gulf of Kutch off India’s West Coast, which it intends to bring into production within two to three years, Dwivedi said.
"The discovery in Kutch offshore may hold about 1 tcf [28.32 bcm] of gas reserves. The spread of Kutch offshore basin covers 28,000 square km in water depths of up to 200 metres and will become the country’s eighth producing basin," Dwivedi said.
The executive said a favourable fiscal regime and concessions were needed to monetise the discoveries in the three new basins, suggesting ONGC may seek premium pricing for new gas production. "The current gas price of US$3.06 per mmBtu [US$84.64 per 1,000 cubic metres], is challenging as the cost of production is higher for discoveries in a tight reservoir," said Dwivedi.
India has 26 sedimentary basins, but only seven are producing. The basins have been divided into four categories based on the prospects of oil and gas. Except for the Assam shelf, ONGC has opened up for commercial production all the other six basins, namely Cambay, Mumbai Offshore, Rajasthan, Krishna Godavari, Cauvery, and Assam Arakan Fold Belt.