ONGC, British Gas and Reliance Industries, which operate the offshore Panna-Mukta and Tapti (PMT) fields, have struck oil. The find was made in December 2006 in the Mukta hydrocarbon field, about 95km north-west of Mumbai, in water depths of 45-70 m.
“A few months back, we had discovered oil in one of the wells in the Mukta field. We are evaluating the data,” said a British Gas India executive, who did not want to be identified. A ministry official confirmed to Mint that the petroleum and natural gas ministry has been informed about the find. A calculation of the field’s potential, in terms of reserves, is yet to be made.
According to the petroleum ministry, the biggest oil find in India, in recent times, has been Cairn Energy’s strike in Rajasthan in 2004.
Named Mangla, this field has estimated reserves of 400 million barrels and will start producing 1,50,000 barrels a day from 2009.
British Gas owns 30% of PMT, with RIL owning another 30% and ONGC 40%. The three companies plan to increase their investments in developing the fields, in light of the discovery. The licence for exploration in Panna and Mukta covers an area of 3,00,000 acres.
“While the (quantum of) reserves is not known, the find will be economical, as most of the facilities required to tap the resources are already there,” said the official. “There is only a need to integrate them; Tapti is a gas field, while Panna and Mukta are associated gas fields,” he added. The companies have already struck gas in the fields.
The find, the British Gas executive said, was still at the discovery stage. The next step is the appraisal stage when an estimation of the reserves is made. “The thickness of the formation, and whether it is commercial or not needs to be ascertained and after that the development plans needs to be prepared,” the official added. It could take anything from two to five years for a find to progress from certification stage to commercial production. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, a government body, certifies whether a find can be exploited commercially.
India has reserves of 30 billion tonnes of oil and oil equivalents.