ONGC plans first drilling in Narmada block

Vol 26, PW 11 (18 May 23) Exploration & Production

ONGC is preparing for a three-well exploration drilling campaign at its rank exploration onshore OALP-6 block NM-ONHP-2020/1, straddling the north Maharashtra border with Madhya Pradesh in the Narmada basin.

Estimated to cost Rs75cr ($9.1m), the campaign is expected to receive clearance shortly after ONGC applied to the Maharashtra State Environment Impact Assessment Authority on March 30 (2023). ONGC's application is signed by Rudra Pal Singh, the Vadodara-based chief general manager of the "Narmada-Broach" block.

"We are set to start exploration at this block," confirms an ONGC source. "The exploration campaign is likely to last two to five years."

Of the three planned wells, two are in the Dhule district of northwestern Maharashtra: P1 (Lat: 21-29-59-N: Long: 74-56-33-E) and P2 (Lat: 21-24-03.71-N; Long: 74-47-59.07-E). One well will be drilled in the Jalgaon district of northern Maharashtra: P3 (Lat: 21-23-52.33-N; Long: 75-14-13.67-E).

"These tentative drilling locations are proposed based on geo-scientific information," our source informs us. According to a 14-page pre-feasibility report prepared by ONGC: "the exact locations for the drilling of wells will be finalised once the detailed interpretation of the acquired seismic survey is completed."

All three proposed wells will be drilled to a depth of 3500 metres targeting Mesozoic age sediments dating from 252m to 66m years ago. "At the initial stage, the drilling sites will be elevated to about one metre from the existing ground level with minimal clearance of existing ground vegetation," adds the PFR.

"The loose topsoil will be removed using mechanical means like a bulldozer and saved at a nearby place for later use during site restoration." Initially, ONGC will take land on temporary and short-term leases for three to five years for exploration.

ONGC will convert the land lease into a long-term lease up to the project's life if it makes a commercial discovery. Dhule district is known for its agricultural and dairy products, and Jalgaon for its gold trade and banana cultivation.