Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: The State-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) on Friday launched a seismic campaign to locate oil and gas field in the Mahanadi basin in Odisha to boost the country's hydrocarbon resource base.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated the seismic exploration campaign at Kakatpur in Puri District.

OIL had won five blocks for hydrocarbon exploration in Odisha in two bid rounds under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), the company said in a statement. The total envisaged expenditure on the entire exploration campaign in the five blocks in Mahanadi Basin (Onshore) is Rs 1,248.00 crore of which Rs 220.00 crore is for seismic survey.

The blocks are spread in eleven districts of Odisha namely Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsingpur, Kendrapara, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Baleshore, Maurbhanj and Keonjhar.

The drilling of the Rs 220 crore exploration project by the PSU will be done at 20 different sites, informed Pradhan.

Terming the day as a great day for Odisha, the Union Minister said, “Oil India Limited has got the prospective licence to explore oil and gas for five blocks. The seismic survey has begun in an area spanning over 3000 square Kms.”

As per some senior Indian geologists, the Krishna Godavari (KG) Basin is house to many unexplored oil and gas sources. The Oil India Limited has just found oil at Ashok Nagar in West Bengal’s Hooghly district.

Pradhan said, "The oil and gas exploration had begun in Odisha in the 80’s but given the data and technology, the geologists had that time, it was hard to find any success. However, the technology has substantially improved now and we are all set to explore natural energy resources in Odisha."

“If oil and gas can be explored in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, I have high hopes of finding the same in Odisha too. If all these blocks yield sufficient gas and oil then Odisha can turn into a hub for production of oil and gas, the Union Minister said in his statement.

“The discovery will have tremendous potential for Odisha and I hope that the Odisha government will provide all the necessary assistance required,” he said.

Apart from this, an exploratory team of ONGC has been searching for oil and gas in the offshores of Bay of Bengal. Similarly, another off shore block near Chandipur is being explored by Reliance-BP.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)