'Secret' ONGC plan to 'HELP' itself to acreage

Vol 20, PW 26 (21 Sep 17) People & Policy

Shrouded in secrecy, ONGC managers charged with exploration met in Jorhat earlier this month (September) to discuss the contents of a confidential note outlining its future bidding strategy for the northeast.

"This is an extremely sensitive study on proposed locations and we are instructed to not even disclose who attended the meeting," says an ONGC source. "We're wary of the competition." Included in the 'blueprint' discussed at the Jorhat HQ of ONGC's Assam & Assam-Arakan basin are proposed well depths, location coordinates and clearly defined areas ONGC wants to pitch for end-October under the new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) and Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) launched on June 28, 2017.

Less secret but equally significant is endorsement of an ONGC plan to drill 29 exploration wells at acreage it already holds by the end of this fiscal or by March 31, 2018. This programme was cleared at ONGC's twice-a-year Exploration Portfolio Management Board (EPMB) meeting on July 22 chaired by director exploration AK Dwivedi.

Sixteen of the 29 wells will target gas deposits; seven will be drilled to depths of 3000-3800 metres in Tripura; two to depths of under 3000 metres at the Jorhat asset; and another two will be drilled by the Nazira-headquartered Assam Asset to depths ranging from 4000-4500 metres. "ONGC senior management has given us a clear instruction," adds a source, "to locate new reservoirs in unexploited areas."

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