DGH tells ONGC to auction all its 'sick' wells

Vol 19, PW 1 (10 Sep 15) People & Policy

Hundreds of ‘sick’ or abandoned wells neglected by ONGC and Oil India could soon be offered to small private sector operators as the government accelerates efforts to kick-start stagnant domestic oil production.

ONGC alone has around 1500 ‘sick’ wells, most of which are each producing half a tonne of oil and 100 tonnes of water daily. “Until now we’ve done nothing at these wells,” admits an ONGC source.

“We’re waiting for the right technology or when the oil price is high.” But additional secretary and acting DGH chief AP Sawhney appears unwilling to wait.

On September 1 he called a meeting attended by ONGC chief DK Sarraf and directors (exploration) AK Dwivedi and (onshore) VP Mahawar to see how ONGC and Oil India can use Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) to revive production. Also in attendance were additional secretary and acting Oil India chairman UP Singh with directors Sudhakar Mahapatra (exploration) and PK Sharma (operations).

During the meeting ONGC and Oil India were directed to prepare a definitive plan to reverse falling production from ageing fields by finding EOR technology partners for its 'sick' wells through a bidding process. Until now ONGC has successfully applied EOR on a small scale only at its Mehsana asset.

“I'm astonished ONGC isn’t using EOR elsewhere,” quips a ministry source, “At Mehsana it has been very successful.”