ONGC starts ultra-deep oil exploration in Kochi

State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on Sunday launched its first ultra-deep sea oil exploration in the Kerala-Konkan basin with spudding operation being started at the site.

The project, expected to be completed in 100 days time, would cost Rs400 crore, ONGC chairman and managing director R S Sharma told reporters here.

Sharma said the initial appraisal of the project has been “quite satisfactory.”

ONGC, which began its exploration activities on the Kerala-Konkan offshore in 1977, has so far drilled 12 exploratory wells - nine in shallow waters and three in deep waters. However, commercial hydrocarbon strike has eluded in spite of a few wells giving hydrocarbon indications.

This is the first exploration in the ultra-deep waters of about 6,000 metres. There are three horizons - 3900 metres, 5,000 metres and 6,000 metres. The target was to reach 3,900 metres in 15-29 days time, Sharma said.

Exploration activities carried out in various blocks in the basin had now revealed new likely ‘hydrocarbon plays’ in the basin, ONGC said in a statement.

The exploratory efforts conducted so far in the basin have not resulted in any discovery and hence no reserves have been established as yet, Sharma said.

The problem of non-availability of rigs, which was felt globally since the past few years, had caused a “setback” for the drilling operations in the country, he said.

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