ONGC to start appraisal of new area, survey in Mahanadi basin

Bhubaneswar: As part of its effort to ensure energy security, the Centre has decided to undertake fresh appraisal over 40,000 line km including East Indian state Odisha’s Mahanadi basin to find out oil and natural gas reserves.

“As the NDA government has decided to take the country towards energy security, we need to go for fresh exploration of the reserves. Therefore, ONGC will undertake new appraisal over 40,000 line km,” Union Minister of State (Independent charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters here in the sideline of the inauguration of the ONGC office here.

Stating that though there are 26 sedimentary basins in the country, Pradhan pointed out that assessment has been done in only 15 sediments.

“Since we want to increase production of oil and gas in the country, there is a need to explore and assess 11 remaining sediments,” Pradhan said adding that some region from the 15 sedimentary basis also require further exploration and assessments.

While justifying necessity of massive explorations in the country, Pradhan said India imports 77 per cent of its hydrocarbon needs from foreign countries.

The ONGC would carry out 2D and 3D survey across the Mahanadi basin, the minister said adding that the state government has already given required permission for beginning exploration in the Mahanadi basin.

Claiming that Odisha would soon emerge as the Eastern India’s Hydro-Carbon hub, the minister said that new technologies need to be implemented in order to make the gas and oil commercially viable.

Though the ONGC had launched exploration activities in Mahanadi basin area decades back, it abandoned the effort after finding that the discoveries of oil and gas may not be commercially viable. “Now, the ONGC will further the Mahanadi basin,” Pradhan said.

“However, as per preliminary estimates, Odisha has significant hydrocarbon resources, especially gas reserves in the off shore area. ONGC is soon going to do onshore 2D seismic survey which will establish the potential of resources for the nation’s energy security,” said ONGC, CMD D K Sarraf.

ONGC, has been engaged in exploration in Mahanadi offshore area ? both shallow and deep water area in the coast of the state since the inception of NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) regime in 1999.

ONGC, an official release said, made the first hydrocarbon discovery in the Mahanadi Basin in the well MDW ? 2A (water depth: 987 m) in its NELP-II block, MN-OSN-2000/2 in the year 2006 and, thereafter, in the well MDW-10 in the same block in 2010. ONGC made another discovery 2007 in the NELP-I block, MN-DWN-98/3.

So far in totality, ONGC has drilled 26 wells in the deep-water and three wells in the shallow water in the Mahanadi offshore area.

“ONGC is in the process of identifying the technology -path which will enable exploiting the established reserve economically,” said A K Dwivedi, director exploration.

About the new office set-up at Bhubaneswar, Dwivedi said it has been established aiming to further boost the exploratory activities in the Mahanadi offshore area.