ONGC strikes gas in KG basin; ties-up with Norsk Hydro for overseas explorations

New Delhi: Indian oil major, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, has made a huge gas discovery in deep-sea Bay of Bengal, with initial reserves being assessed to be in the range of 4 to 6 trillion cubic feet.

ONGC struck gas in the the Krishna Godavari Basin block KG-DWN-98/2, which lies adjacent to Reliance Industires' D6 block, where 11.9 trillion cubic feet of certified in place gas reserves have been struck till date. Officials said the gas find could be at least half the size of Reliance discovery.

While petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, who is in Oslo, confirmed the gas find, ONGC officials said that formalities have to be completed before an announcement about the potential reserves can be made. As the company is now governed by the SEBI rules, reserves have to be first tested and then verified by Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (India's upstream regulator) before they can be quantified and announcements made.

ONGC had acquired 90 per cent stake in the the Block KG-DWN-98/2 from Cairn Energy of UK for $135 million in 2004. Cairn Energy, which still holds 10 per cent stake, had in 2001 made oil and gas finds at four wells in the block - gas at prospect 'N', gas at prospect 'R' (now named Annapura), oil and gas in prospect 'P' and oil at prospect 'M'.

Cairn had established 0.75- to 1-trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in Annapura and at least 200 million barrels of oil reserves in prospects 'P' and 'M'.

The previous finds and the latest find together would make up for at least 6-trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, officials said.

In another development, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of ONGC, has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Norsk Hydro, a private Norwegian upstream company, whereby the two companies have agreed to cooperate in third countries, particularly in West Asia. The petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyer announced this from Oslo, where he is currently on a tour.

The two would also be looking at projects in Cuba and Iran, the minister said. He, however, did not elaborate on the kind of projects the two would be looking at in Iran. The MoU is one of the five agreements signed during the ongoing visit of the Petroleum Minister to Norway.

An agreement was also signed between the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) of India and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to enhance institutional cooperation as also to pursue interaction in the areas of research and development, and safety and training.

Further, ONGC has also entered into three agreements with Norwegian organisations in the areas of research and development.

In association with the Hyderabad-based National Geo-Physical Research Institute, ONGC has signed an agreement with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology to pursue cooperation in the area of reservoir modelling for enhanced oil recovery using fractals and 4D seismic.

Other areas envisaged in the agreement include cooperation in the onshore and offshore areas with respect to enhanced oil recovery and to develop the knowledge base for reservoir surveillance.

ONGC has signed another agreement with ROXAR Software Solutions to cooperate in the area of integration of real time data monitoring systems with log modelling and geological model update process.

The final agreement is between ONGC and SINTEF to collaborate in the areas of occupational health, safety and the environment.