ONGC readies for Rs366cr shale well campaign

Vol 21, PW 1 (05 Oct 17) Exploration & Production

Despite reservations, junior ONGC managers are determined to launch an 11 shale oil and gas well exploration campaign in the Cambay basin beginning April 2018.

Drilling locations have been finalised for the Rs366cr ($55m) campaign in Mehsana, Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad districts, the Kheda district and Bharuch districts, according to documents submitted to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) seen by this report. Public hearings are scheduled at Bharuch on October 13, Mehsana on October 24, Nandej village in Ahmedabad district on October 25, Piyaj village in Gandhinagar district on October 26 and Nawagam village in Kheda district on November 3.

One of the biggest challenges to shale exploration in India is the need for huge volumes of water. Unlike in the US where the shale revolution is the envy of the world, water is scarce in India.

ONGC admits it will face this problem at the planned 11 wells. "But at first we will 'frack' only a single zone," says an ONGC source.

"Complex multi-stage 'fracking' won't be carried out at this stage." ONGC says it will need 400-600 cubic metres of water for each 'frack' job. On August 12, ONGC directors TK Sengupta and VP Mahawar dashed hopes of a shale gas revolution in India by publicly announcing ONGC had lost interest.

"Shale in India is bad!" said Sengupta. "When I say bad, I mean very bad!"

LNG Summit