ONGC to engage oil service majors to lift output from local fields: report

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), India's biggest oil explorer, has short-listed US oil service companies Halliburton, Schlumberger and GE subsidiary Baker Hughes to help it boost output from domestic oil fields as the government pushes for increased local supplies to cut expensive imports.

The three companies have been asked to submit proposals for a ''production enhancement contract'' for two of ONGC's onshore oilfields – one in Assam and another in Gujarat, a Reuters report quoting ONGC documents said.

ONGC will now share data on production and prospects with the three oilfield service providers to help them submit proposals on boosting production from two onshore fields.

ONGC has not so far made any official announcements of the contract, which is expected to be awarded by May.

ONGC, which the government hopes to eventually emerge as a global giant like Exxon Mobil or PetroChina, has, however, failed to increase production and achieve production targets.

Output from ONGC's fields, most of which are operating for more than 30 years, is declining at the rate of 7 to 8 per cent a year and most of its capital spent is on arresting the yearly decline.

The government last September also proposed selling a 60-per cent stake in ONGC's producing fields to foreign companies to ramp up domestic oil and gas output.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of cutting oil imports by 10 per cent by 2022.

India's oil production has stalled below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in recent years, even as oil demand surged.

This set its crude oil imports soaring, making it the world's third-biggest importer, behind China and the United States. In January, India's imports hit a record of nearly 5 million barrels per day.