ONGC to invest $180 bn to ramp up production seven-fold by 2030; report

India's state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) is planning to acquire producing assets worth around $180 billion (Rs11,00,000 crore) as part of to push to raise production seven-fold by 2030, the UK-based Financial Times reported yesterday.

ONGC plans to raise its overseas oil production in two stages - to 60 million tonnes of oil plus oil-equivalent gas by 2030 - or 1.2 million barrels per day.

The plan envisages investing around $180 billion between 2013 and 2030 on a number of projects, including raising local and overseas oil and gas output, according to the company's website.

ONGC is looking to acquire oil assets across all of the world's oil producing areas, the Financial Times quoted its chairman Dinesh Sarraf as saying.

The ONGC chairman said the group aimed to raise its international oil and gas output from 8.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent last year to 60 million tonnes over that period, amidst ever-rising domestic energy demand.

ONGC, India's largest industrial company by market capitalisation, said it expects to take advantage of falling oil prices to acquire producing assets and double its overseas output to the equivalent of 400,000 barrels per day by 2018.

The state-run oil and gas explorer also ramped up production at its biggest fields in Mumbai offshore by 8 per cent over the past seven months - the first growth in several years - and announced plans to quickly develop discovered fields, including some in deep-sea regions, amidst government scrutiny of its functioning.

ONGC has faced criticism for the long delay in developing its deep-sea fields but Sarraf said the company was trying hard to quickly develop these fields. "Our KG discoveries that would require slightly more time due to difficult terrain, would get the price in the due course as the approved price is dynamic and it will substantially change by 2018," The Economic Times quoted Sarraf as saying.

Sarraf also said the new government-announced price of $5.61 per mmcmf of natural gas would make production viable.

"We are not worried about price. Our focus is to find more oil and gas and monetise them quickly. The purpose of ONGC is not profiteering, but to ensure the country's energy security. Exploration and production is our priority, everything else will be secondary," he said.

Sarraf said output from Mumbai offshore has risen to 316,130 barrels per day from 292,707 in the middle of March. "I myself monitor output details every morning and ensure action if there is even a barrel drop," he said.

Sarraf said ONGC is ''under strict vigil by the government as it has set targets and the oil secretary monitors it on the fifth day of every month without fail."

The company is now concentrating on the development of new gas-fields in the east and the west coasts to start over 28 million standard cubic meters per day output by 2017-18, he said.

He said ONGC will submit an integrated field development plan for northern gas fields in the KG basin by early next year, where we expects more than 20 mmscmd gas and 90,000 barrels per day oil.

ONGC is also focusing on its larger west coast field, near Daman offshore, were the company has recently found some big discoveries with a potential of about 8.5 mmscmd, according to Sarraf.