Is Kutch offshore the next hydrocarbon basin for India?
ONGC HAS SET A THREE-YEAR DEADLINE TO PRODUCE GAS
Will the Kutch coastline in western India become the next producing offshore basin of the country? ONGC’s exploration team believes so. If it succeeds, then India will get a new producing basin after a lag of 30 years – the last being Cauvery.
The public sector exploration major has set a target of three years to bring its offshore discoveries, mainly gas, to production. The fields lie south-west of the Kutch coastline.
“We have set a target of three years for taking the asset from category-II to category-I that is from exploration to producing,” ONGC’s Director (Exploration) Ajay Kumar Dwivedi said, adding, “at present, it is difficult to give any estimates on how much hydrocarbon is available, but results are exciting.”
Dwivedi said that the efforts of ONGC have led to the discovery of nine hydrocarbon prospects in its acreages there. The areas include acreages given on mining lease prior to licensing rounds and two blocks won under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) rounds.
Gas has been discovered in GK-22C and GK-39 structures and oil/gas has been discovered in GK-28 structure. Recently, two gas discoveries have also been made in NELP–VIII blocks – GK-OSN-2009/1 and GK-OSN-2009/2. They are still at the appraisal stage, but experts say that the combined resource base could be about 15 billion cubic metre of gas through the life of the fields.
But the challenge for ONGC will be the then prevailing gas price.
According to company officials, the average cost of production for ONGC is $4 a unit (gas is measured in million British thermal units, and the current price is $4.24 a unit). ONGC has a total of four NELP blocks in the basin. Dwivedi said the biggest exploratory challenge in the Basin is seismic imaging below Deccan Traps as it tends to degrade the seismic signals. Though the company has used state of the art technologies touted to address this particular issue, the results were not satisfactory.
The Kutch Basin covers an area of about 28,000 sq km. Hydrocarbon exploration in Kutch Offshore Basin was first initiated in 1964 when a Russian seismic survey acquired 2D data. ONGC has been exploring the Basin for more than four decades.
But now, the company has gone back with new zeal. ONGC has drilled 49 exploratory wells of which 47 fall in shallow water while 2 wells were drilled in deep-water areas.