Fueling India’s Future : ONGC’s Offshore and Onshore Odyssey in Oil & Gas Exploration

Addressing Energy Challenges and Expanding Global Reach

In 2023, India purchased over 87.8% of its crude oil from overseas to meet its energy needs. Furthermore, the likelihood of more geopolitical conflicts increases its susceptibility to shocks in the price of oil. Every dollar that the price of crude oil raises results in a cost increase of US$1.6 billion. The price of a barrel of Brent crude just surpassed USD 90. India is the third-largest oil importer in the world, and rising crude oil prices hurt our economy. With 10 dollar that Brent crude prices climb, India’s current account deficit increases by 0.5%. As a result, the INR weakens, and import inflation results.

ONGC Videsh : Global Footprint in Oil and Gas

To meet its energy needs, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Commission’s overseas arm, ONGC Videsh, is aggressively exploring, developing, and producing oil and gas from five continents. Ventures span Azerbaijan’s ACG fields and BTC pipeline, Bangladesh’s offshore blocks, Myanmar’s exploration, Russia’s Sakhalin-1, Imperial Energy, Vankor, and Vietnam’s Block 06.1 and Block-128, Block Farsi in Iran (40% PI), Block-8 (now Block-20) in Iraq (100% stake), AFPC and Block-24 in Syria (50% stake in HESBV for AFPC), Lower Zakum Concession in UAE (10% PI), Libya’s Contract Area 43, Mozambique’s Rovuma Area-1 Offshore, South Sudan’s GPOC and SPOC; Brazil’s BC-10 and Block BM Seal-4; Colombia’s MECL, Block CPO-5, Block SSJN7, and Block RC-10; and Venezuela’s San Cristobal and Carabobo-1.

Domestic Production Boost

ONGC recently reported that it has initiated production from the Krishna Godavari basin in the Bay of Bengal deep water KG-DWN-98/2 block, with a daily production rate of 45,000 barrels and more than 10 million cubic metres of gas. This project is expected to raise oil and gas production by 11% and 15%, respectively, to the national total.

ONGC’s Endeavors in KG Basin and Bihar

Furthermore, the nation’s pioneer in India’s energy sector, ONGC, is embarking on ambitious ventures to explore, extract, and develop oil resources both onshore in Bihar and offshore in the Andaman Sea. These initiatives mark significant strides in India’s quest for energy self-sufficiency and reducing import dependencies. In Bihar, ONGC’s plans to drill a well in Samastipur signify a pivotal moment for the state’s entry into India’s oil domain. The company’s acquisition of 3D seismic data covering 300 square kilometers underscores the meticulous groundwork preceding the drilling of two exploratory wells. In the future, exploration will include the vast Ganga basin, spanning Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab. The drilling operations in Bihar are part of ONGC’s proactive approach to harnessing India’s domestic hydrocarbon potential. The data gathered from these exploratory wells will serve as a compass guiding further exploration activities, potentially opening up the entire basin for future oil and gas discoveries.

Andaman Sea Exploration

Simultaneously, ONGC is gearing up for offshore exploration in the Andaman Sea, aiming to tap into substantial hydrocarbon reserves. The company’s meticulous planning includes the deployment of drilling rigs in identified blocks, expected to commence by May. These blocks, acquired in the sixth round of bidding under the open acreage licensing program, hold promising prospects for bolstering India’s domestic production of oil and gas.

Global Collaboration for Ultra-Deep Water Exploration

ONGC’s capabilities to navigate the complexities of offshore exploration are to collaborate globally for rig development and exploration in ultra-deep water basins like the Andaman Sea. The company’s strategic timeline aims for rig deployment by September, with three identified prospects set for drilling. These initiatives align with India’s broader energy security goals, seeking to reduce import dependencies amid growing energy demand. With the Indian energy requirement projected to triple by 2050, ONGC’s proactive stance in exploring the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) underscores a concerted effort to bridge the domestic oil and gas supply-demand gap. The ongoing survey in the Indian EEZ holds promise for significant oil and gas discoveries, potentially unlocking vast reserves crucial for India’s energy sustainability. As ONGC spearheads exploration, extraction, and rig development endeavors, it reinforces its pivotal role in India’s journey towards energy self-reliance and strategic resource management.

Abundant Potential in Andaman Basin

There are five deepwater blocks located in the Andaman Basin, collectively holding an immense potential of over 1296 billion barrels of oil and natural gas. This expansive zone, covering an area of 83,419 square kilometers, is abundantly rich in hydrocarbon resources. The estimated reserves in this region are comparable to those found in the Middle East, signifying its substantial contribution to India’s energy landscape.

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