India's top oil and gas producer ONGC on Thursday said it will invest Rs 31,000 crore over the next three years in exploring the Indian sedimentary basin for fuel reserves which could augment the nation's production in its attempt to be self-reliant in the energy sector.
In a statement, ONGC said its board held a meeting on Thursday to firm up its 'Future Exploration Strategy'.
"The company has drawn up a comprehensive roadmap to further intensify its exploration campaign, allocating a capital expenditure of about Rs 31,000 crore in the next three fiscal years during FY 2022-25. This is 150 per cent of its exploration expenditure of Rs 20,670 crore in the last three fiscals during FY 2019-22," it said.
ONGC said it also plans to leverage international collaborations with reputed global majors for this, for which talks are in an advanced stage.
However, it did not elaborate.
India is 85 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs and half of the natural gas requirement is shipped from abroad. Finding and producing more oil and gas domestically will cut this reliance, helping insulate the domestic market from volatility in international energy prices.
"This exploration intensification includes activities funded through ONGC's internal program as well as funded and facilitated by the government," the statement said.
Under the internal program, ONGC is trying to probe around 1,700 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas (MMTOE) of yet-to-find (YTF) reserves during FY 2022-25.
The activities here include a state-of-the-art 2D and 3D seismic survey, followed by drilling of around 115-120 wells with an estimated outlay of Rs 10,000 crore every year for the next three years.
In addition, the government's facilitation has resulted in the release of about 96,000 square kilometers of area so far, which was earlier demarcated as a 'No Go' zone. This will further help ONGC achieve its acreage acquisition program of bringing around 5,00,000 sq km under active exploration by 2025.
Under a government-funded program for appraisal of unapprised offshore areas till the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), 70,000 line kilometers (LKM) of state-of-the-art 2D broadband seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation (API) will be done in three sectors -- west coast, east coast and Andaman offshore.
ONGC will complete the technical bid opening (TBO) for seismic data acquisition by June 2022.
In Andaman Basin, ONGC presently holds two blocks for exploration under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP).
"Government of India has also acquired seismic data in some sectors within 'No-Go' areas and few prospects are already identified," it said without giving details.
ONGC plans to drill six wells in the next three years (two under ONGC committed work program and four through government funding).
Reputed global companies/consultants are being invited for the assessment of the basin for future exploration and exploitation plan.
"ONGC's internal program has three components - re-exploration of mature basins, consolidation of emerging basins and probing of emerging and new basins," the statement said.