BP includes India on list of four top exploration areas

Vol 10, PW 23 (22 Mar 07) People & Policy

Global major BP is no different to any other oil company looking for new areas to explore.

Driven by an enviable 100% reserves replacement ratio over the past 13 years, senior BP management, we hear, has identified India and the wider South Asia region alongside Arctic Russia, Libya and Iraq to add to its established presence in the Gulf of Mexico, Angola, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and the Nile Delta, where the company has sunk $60bn over the past five years. BP’s effort in India will be driven by its low-key but growing relationship with ONGC.

On 16th February it submitted a proposal for the creation of a joint BP-ONGC technical study group. If approved, this would culminate in the formation of a four-person team (two from each company) and regular exchange visits between BP’s exploration HQ at Sunbury in the UK and ONGC’s exploration directorate at Dehra Dun.

“The idea is for us to learn from each other; to give ONGC a chance to see how we function,â€‌ BP tells this report. “No data has yet changed hands; that will have to wait until the government approves.

â€‌ Most would think BP’s proposal focuses only on the Kutch basin and block GK-DW-1. Not so.

Also covered is CBM and deepwater exploration in ONGC’s NELP blocks. “Kutch is only a starting point for us to work together,â€‌ adds BP.

“If Kutch (GK-DW-1) doesn’t happen we still want to work on other deepwater blocks and CBM. ONGC has invited us to look at its CBM programme.

We’re also looking at â€کfarm-in’ possibilities.â€‌ Deepwater expertise is a critical area where BP believes it can help ONGC and points to a Wood Mackenzie report that lists itand Petrobras as the two foremost global deepwater operators.

“Exploration and development beyond 1500 metres water depth is not straight forward,â€‌ says BP. “Very few successful developments happen at this depth, only a small number of companies have this expertise.

â€‌ Among the hurdles to a deepwater development programme, says BP, is that much of the technology is still undeveloped.