Mumbai: Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) has reported a major gas find for the third time in 2007—this time in the southern-most basin on the country’s East Coast, the Cauvery-Palar Basin off the coast of Tamil Nadu.
With this, the company has found gas in all the three major basins on the East Coast where it is prospecting for oil and gas.
Confirming that the company had reported a new gas find, V.K. Sibal, the Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), said that he had “received a notification from Reliance Industries that they have struck oil and gas in one of the Cauvery Basin blocks”.
However, he refused to give further details of the find. An RIL spokesperson, too, refused to comment on the development.
According to people close to the development and who did not wish to be identified, RIL’s gas find in the Cauvery-Palar Basin is said to be in the region of 20 trillion cubic feet (TCF), bigger than the company’s find in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin where reserves have been pegged at 11.4 TCF by independent surveyors and ratified by DGH, the oil and gas regulator.
State-owned firms such as Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd and Oil India Ltd, which have exploration blocks in the basin, have reported gas finds, but these are in the region of a few billion cubic feet in terms of reserves.
RIL has already reported gas finds in the Mahanadi basin on the East Coast, and off the the Saurashtra coast in the last six months. While it has reported around 8.3TCF of reserves in its find in the Mahanadi basin, the Saurashtra find is yet to be quantified.
RIL has four blocks in the Cauvery–Palar basin with a total acreage of 41,770 sq. km. In March this year, RIL sought a two-year moratorium from DGH on exploration work in three of the blocks, citing a shortage of oil rigs; it simultaneously sought an extension of the first phase of exploration on the fourth one.
RIL currently has three rigs operating on the KG basin for which it is paying aggregate daily rental of $2.5 million (Rs10.1 crore). One of these rigs has been moved to the Cauvery Basin.
Mint had reported on 15 July that RIL was exploring a tie-up with Chevron Corp. to undertake exploration in the Cauvery-Palar blocks.
P.M.S. Prasad, president of RIL’s oil and gas business had told Mint then that the blocks were located in “ultra-deep” waters of around 2,000ft and that the company lacked the technology required to extract oil and gas from such depths.