ONGC to open India’s 8th sedimentary basin with Kutch gas find

After a gap of over three- decades, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is set to open a new sedimentary basin in the country as it puts Kutch offshore on the oil and gas map of India.

Kutch would be India’s eighth sedimentary basin. ONGC had previously opened for commercial production six out of India’s seven producing basins. Cauvery was the last Category-I producing basin which was discovered in 1985.

ONGC has made a significant natural gas discovery in the Gulf of Kutch off the west coast, which it plans to bring to production in 2-3 years, senior company officials said.

India has 26 sedimentary basins, of which only seven have commercial production of oil and gas. Except for the Assam shelf, ONGC opened up for commercial production all the other six basins, including Cambay, Mumbai Offshore, Rajasthan, Krishna Godavari, Cauvery and Assam-Arakan Fold Belt.

The discovery in Kutch offshore may hold about 1 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves.

The spread of Kutch offshore basin covers an area of 28000 square kilometres in water depth of up to 200 meters and will become eighth producing basin of the country.

Talking about the possibility of adding new basin for production, ONGC Director (Exploration) A K Dwivedi said: “The results are very encouraging and I am sure that this is going to open up many new opportunities”.

He said several state-of-the-art technologies like broadband seismic acquisition have been used in exploration campaign to acquire more accurate data from the exploration acreages.

While congratulating the exploration Team, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker said, “Our constant efforts will be on looking for new opportunities to replenish our reserves. Our focus is to improve the quality of pre- drilling data through the use of innovative technologies in order to improve the success rate.”

Exploration, he said, is the most important value creator for any E&P company worldwide.

“ONGC will leave no stone unturned to improve success rate from its exploratory campaigns. We are trying to optimize cost as much as possible, both during pre and post exploratory drilling phases,” he said.

However, imbibing most modern technologies as well as conducting a customized training programme for the geoscientists to substantially enhance the quality of data before exploratory drilling starts are needed, he said. “This will have a huge positive impact both in short and long run.”

In order to go for early monetising of Kutch Offshore, ONGC is looking for pricing support from the Government of India. Since Kutch Offshore is a difficult field, its cost of production is also going to be high. Hence, a matching pricing support is extremely important.

Officials said the present government-mandated gas price of USD 2.89 per million British thermal unit does not make the discovery commercially viable. Since the find is in shallow waters, it does not qualify to get the USD 6.30 per mmBtu cap price set for difficult fields.

ONGC, they said, has stepped up the acquisition of 2D and 3D seismic data in a bid to raise production and help cut country’s dependence on imports to meet oil needs by 10 per cent by 2022.

In 2017, the company acquired around 7000 square kilometre of 3D seismic data.

Officials said 37 discoveries have been made in last two years. 17 of these are onland, 18 in shallow water and two are deepsea discoveries.

Also, a framework for monetisation of 166 new and small discoveries have been mapped at the Basin and Asset level, they added.