ONGC wants to quit NELP-II block KK-OSN-2000/1

Vol 7, PW 15 (08 Oct 03) Exploration & Production

Premier's enthusiasm for Assam (above) contrasts starkly with ONGC's continuing disappointment with the offshore Kerala Konkan basin on the other side of India.

We understand ONGC is unhappy with the poor prospectivity of its NELP-II shallow offshore Kerala-Konkan block KK-OSN-2000/1 and wants to relinquish it as soon as possible. 'Phase-I' ended on 15th August.

During this period, ONGC faithfully carried out its minimum work programme commitment and in some cases even exceeded it. See below 'Phase-I' details: Type of work Minimum work programme Actual work done 2D seismic survey 500 km 502 km Geomagnetic surveys 500 km 502 km Reprocessing 500 km 907 km After completing 2D seismic and geomagnetic surveys, ONGC interpreted the results and integrated them with 8,700-km old seismic.

The results were disappointing, to say the least. "Studies reveal the uncertainty of hydrocarbons on this block," we are told.

"It is best that we relinquish the block as soon as possible." Left to itself, ONGC would like to relinquish the block now, at the end of 'Phase-I', but the management committee (read: DGH) wanted it to seek a six-month extension to reprocess more seismic. ONGC agreed but was unwilling to pay the Petroleum Exploration Licence fees for the extension.

ONGC said it would pay the PEL fees at the end of the six-month extension if it decided to enter 'Phase-II'. Unsurprisingly, the DGH refused, and told ONGC it would have to pay, "under the terms of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules".

Anything less, "would have created an unwelcome precedent."