Exploration wells - ONGC the only game in town

Vol 19, PW 2 (24 Sep 15) Exploration & Production

They say ONGC is the only game in town when it comes to drilling exploration wells and the facts prove it.

On September 3 basin managers from across ONGC descended on Chennai to chalk out plans for 119 exploration wells across the country. "It was an internal meeting," confirms a source who attended.

"Exact drilling locations were discussed." Seventy-five of the wells are onshore and 44 offshore. ONGC plans contrast starkly with the zero exploration agenda of private and overseas explorers, reflected in rapidly declining membership of the Association of Oil & Gas Operators (AOGO).

Set up in 2002 as an industry platform to share ideas and 'scout' reports, the AOGO is losing members faster than you can say D-G-H. In 2010 there were 26 members; today only 18.

BHP Billiton, Santos and Eni haven't renewed because they've abandoned India; Adani-Welspun because it has abandoned E&P; Assam Company because it's waiting for Amguri to revive. Jubilant Oil and Canadian explorer Bengal Energy won't be renewing either.

"India's E&P sector resembles the 80s," we hear, "when only ONGC and Oil India were exploring." Of AOGO's 18 members today none except ONGC and Oil India has an exploration programme worth reporting: BP, Cairn India, BG, Focus Energy, HOEC, Hardy Oil & gas, IndianOil, ONGC, Oil India, Geopetrol, Jubilant Oil & Gas, Selan, Reliance, Bengal Energy, GSPC, Joshi and Niko.