آ“Insignificant contribution from new discoveriesآ”: ONGC

Vol 3, PW 23 (08 Dec 99) Exploration & Production
     

Alarm bells are ringing at ONGC following the release of a mid-term review of the companys exploration and productionsuccess rate in the first two years of the 9th Five Year Plan between 1997 and 2002.

A correspondent for this report has obtained a copy of the review, approved by chairman Bikash Bora on 29th October 1999. For ONGC, it makes depressing reading.

Most worrying are comments related to reserve accretion. The results of the first two years have not been encouraging, with a total in-place reserves accretion of 106.5m tonnes of oil equivalent against a target of 750m tonnes, reads the review, The target of 750m tonnes can (only) be achieved if a sizeable discovery is forthcoming in the frontier basins.

Put another way, reserve accretion will only increase if ONGC strikes it lucky in the deep waters - its only real possibility of increasing overall production. In the review, ONGC admits it is setting unrealistic targets, driven more by a desire to match the spiralling demand for crude in India than any realistic hope of striking oil.

The reserve accretion target for the 9th plan was projected to be 523-722m metric tonnes of oil equivalent with the proposed inputs, adds the review, But in the first year of the 9th plan itself, the rapidly increasing requirement for domestic crude and other factors saw the plan recast to achieve an enhanced reserve accretion target of 750m tonnes. Clearly an unrealistic target.

Though the actual achievement of the first year of the 9th plan was more than target, the production rate of subsequent years indicates that the likely achievement of crude oil would be around 128m tonnes against 145m tonnes. Why For ONGC the blame lies squarely on, revision of producible reserves of the Neelam field, delay in commissioning of enhanced oil recovery schemes in the heavy oil belt of north Gujarat, insignificant contribution from new discoveries and continued environmental problems (read: Terrorism) in the north east.