Crude production at D-1 will be 24,000 b/d by 2009

Vol 9, PW 24 (23 Mar 06) Exploration & Production

ONGC has begun commercial production of (expensive!) crude oil from its D-1 marginal field offshore Mumbai.

PETROWATCH learns on 12th March the second of three planned development wells at D-1 began flowing 3000 b/d. An earlier first well began flowing on 8th February following a 40-day drilling programme by Aban Loyd-owned jack-up Hit Drill-1.

Crude from both producing wells is being taken to ONGCs Sagar Laxmi early production system and then shipped by tanker further down the coast to ONGC-subsidiary Mangalore Refinery in Karnataka. ONGC expects to produce another 3000 b/d from a third production well at D-1 in May under the ongoing Phase-I of the development programme.

ONGC discovered D-1 in 1976 about the same time as the Mumbai High - but neglected it for many years as an uneconomical marginal field prompting the government to award it to Indian Oil before ONGC snatched it back in 1998. Today, with crude prices ruling at all-time highs, ONGC feels it has become viable to exploit, even if the cost of production is a staggering $39 per barrel.

Despite the high cost, says a source, it is still very profitable for ONGC. Sitting in 95 metres water depth, D-1 is a limestone carbonate reservoir located 200-km south west of Mumbai in the deep continental shelf area of Mumbai High and is ONGCs farthest field in the western offshore.

Spread over 255-sq km, it holds estimated 133m barrels in-place oil of which ONGC hopes to recover 31.5m barrels. ONGC has set aside Rs507cr ($112m) for D-1 development.

Phase-I (underway) will see three producing wells and three water injectors. Ditto for Phase-II, which is scheduled to begin producing in March 2009.

As part of the development plan for D-1, a 12-slot well cum water injection platform has already been installed. ONGC estimates a 15-year life for D-1 and peak production of 24,000 b/d by 2009 (when Phase-II goes on stream) for five years to 2014.