Expert panel finds big seepage of ONGC gas to RIL

US-based consultant DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M) has stated in a draft report submitted to the petroleum ministry that at least 9 billion cubic metres of natural gas valued at around Rs8,600 crore may have flown from the Oil & Natural Gas Corporation's idle Bay of Bengal fields into adjoining Krishna Godavari-D6 fields controlled by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

Senior officials have confirmed that D&M on Friday submitted to the two firms as well as the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) a draft report stating that ONGC's Godavari Block (known as G-4) is contiguous to the RIL-operated Block KG-DWN-98/3 (KG-D6).

The parties will now get an opportunity to comment on the draft findings before D&M prepares the final report. Officials said that D&M is of the opinion that there exists one big gas resource several metres below sea bed which extends from G-4 to KG-D6.

The DGH had erred in drawing the boundaries of the blocks by ignoring the seismic data on the presence of the reservoir, and drew lines that bifurcated the reservoir rather than making it one block, according to the report.

ONGC had in 2014 claimed that RIL had deliberately drilled wells close to the common boundary of the blocks, which was leading to the pumping out gas from the adjoining ONGC block by RIL (See: ONGC takes RIL to court over 'stealing' of its Krishna-Godavari gas).

Officials said D&M has stated that since ONGC had not produced any gas since it made the discovery in 2002, some of its share of gas may have flown out of KG-D6 block from where RIL started production in April 2009.

D&M believes that at least 9 billion cubic meters of gas belonging to ONGC could have migrated to KG-D6 wells. This gas at $4.2 per million British thermal unit price is worth $1.33 billion, or Rs8,675 crore.

Officials said D&M, which was jointly appointed by ONGC and RIL to find if the neighbouring fields are connected, is of the opinion that there is no unconnected area in G-4 .

According to D&M, RIL had drawn 58.67 billion cubic metres of gas from the wells up to 31 March 2015, out of which at least 9 bcm may belong to ONGC. It is likely to submit its final report on the issue by next month.