Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) plans to hire an international consultant to study the feasibility of developing about a dozen discoveries at a Krishna Godavari basin block off the east coast.

State-owned ONGC has made 11 discoveries in the deepsea KG-DWN-98/2 block, located next to Reliance Industries’ KG-D6 block and Gujarat State Petroleum Corp’s Deendayal gas field.

“We do not have experience of dealing with technological, project management complexities associated with deepwater technologies. A complicated, cost-intensive project like KG-DWN-98/2 cannot be executed without external professional assistance of a very high order,” a company official said.

The consultant will study the techno-economic feasibility as well as help the company prepare a field development plan, he said, adding that it will also be asked to assist from the initial stage through commencement of production.

The consultant to be hired should have a proven track record of providing services for deepwater fields that have been successfully put into production.

The block is divided into the Northern Discovery Area (NDA) and Southern Discovery Area (SDA). ONGC plans to invest $ 9 billion in producing from discoveries in NDA.

“We are looking at producing 2.5-3 million tons of oil (per annum) and 9-10 million standard cubic meters per day of gas from NDA,” the official said.

NDA holds an estimated 92.3 million tons of oil reserves and 97.568 billion cubic meters of in—place gas reserves spread over seven fields. The southern part of the block holds the ultra-deepsea UD-1 discovery that may hold up to 3 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves.

ONGC bought a 90 per cent interest in the block from Cairn India Ltd in 2005. Before selling the stake and giving away operatorship of the block, Cairn made four discoveries in the area - Padmavati, Kanakdurga, N-1 and R-1 (Annapurna).

Later, ONGC made six significant discoveries – E-1, A1, U1, W1, D-1 and KT-1 in NDA and the first ultra-deepwater discovery UD-1 at a record depth of 2,841 metres.

The NDA comprises discoveries like Padmawati, Kanadurga, D, E, U, A, while the ultra deepsea UD find lies in SDA.

The official said the consultant will advise ONGC on whether a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit can be used to produce oil and gas.

The KG-DWN-98/2 block, spread over 7,294.6 square kilometres, was awarded to Cairn in the first round of auction under the New Exploration Licensing Policy in April 2000. ONGC holds 3,800.6 sq km in NDA and 3,494 sq km in SDA.