DGH backs ONGC claim that RIL may be 'stealing' its gas

The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has supported a demand by the Oil & Natural Gas Corp for the appointment of an international expert to assess if Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) was drawing out any of ONGC's gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.

The state-owned explorer has said that at least three wells drilled by RIL in the eastern offshore KG-D6 block are within "a few hundred metres" of its gas fields and it fears the two may be sharing the same pool of reserves. Since ONGC has not yet begun producing gas from its allotment, it feels RIL's wells may be pumping out its share of gas.

The DGH has written to RIL asking it to immediately share data on the gas reservoir on its side of the block as well as production flows with ONGC, reports on Monday said.

It also asked ONGC to share the data based on which it thought that RIL's wells - D6-A5, D6-A9 and D6-B8 - in the KG-D6 block may be drawing gas from its gas pools called G4-2, G4-3 and D-1.

The regulator's letter to RIL follows ONGC's 11 February complaint to the petroleum ministry saying the Mukesh Ambani-run company was unwilling to cooperate and was delaying the process of resolving the issue which it had raised over seven months ago.

"In view of significance of the issue and ONGC's position that there is continuity of discoveries made by ONGC in its Godavari PML and KG-DWN-98/2 block and possible extension of reservoirs into KG-DWN-98/3 (KG-D6) block, RIL, the contractor of KG-DWN-98/3 block is reminded and advised to comply with the provisions of contract and fully cooperate with ONGC to resolve the concerns of ONGC," the regulator wrote.

It asked RIL and ONGC to submit a joint study report to DGH at the earliest.

ONGC fears that gas pool in its nomination block G4 (Godavari PML) and KG-DWN-98/2 extends into KG-D6.

Based on the data provided by RIL studied so far, the position of ONGC is that there is a continuity of discoveries made by ONGC in its Godavari PML and KG-DWN-98/2 Block and possible extension of reservoirs into RIL's KG-DWN-98/3 Block.

"Our study suggests that RIL's wells D6-A5, D6-A9 and D6-B8 are drilled on the extension of G4-2, G4-3 and D-l pools of ONGC respectively," ONGC had written to the regulator.

"As these pools are extending across both the blocks, there is possibility that pools of KG-DWN-98/2 and G4 are being drained through wells drilled in D-6 block, as these wells are drilled close to/on block boundary."

ONGC wanted appointment of an independent third-party expert to resolve the issue.