The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) began drilling its first-ever well in the Palar basin at Chinnapuliyur village near Gummidipoondi, about 55 km from Chennai, on Sunday.
The exploratory well is to be drilled to a depth of 2,000 metres in four months.
Addressing the ONGC employees at the site, Narendra K. Verma, Director (Exploration) said the ONGC had already “opened” (explored for hydrocarbons) six out of seven sedimentary basins in India. The Palar basin was the seventh.
The basin, covering an area of 1,800 sq.km., was sandwiched between the two petroleum-bearing Krishna-Godavari and Cauvery basins. There was no reason, therefore, why the Palar basin should be devoid of hydrocarbons, he said. “The seismic surveys have given us a new hope that there will be significant columns of hydrocarbons in the Palar basin.”
In Mr. Verma’s assessment, the ONGC was passing through an “exciting phase” but it faced a lot of challenges. Its production stood at 52 million tonnes of oil and gas a year “but it is not good enough.” Its production should double by 2030. So “hilly areas and frontier areas” would be tackled in the company’s quest to find oil and gas, he added.
B.S. Josyulu, Executive Director and Basin Manager, Cauvery, ONGC, said his team would complete drilling the Chinnapuliyur well and another well (seven km away) in six months. There were limitations on the seismic data because of “logistics” and a lot of industries were situated in the block. Dr. Josyulu was, however, confident that “we will reap a rich harvest from this exploratory well.”
The block called PR-ONN-2005/1, where Chinnapuliyur is located, was a joint venture with the ONGC and Tata Petrodyne Limited (TPL). Twenty per cent stake in the block belonged to the TPL, he said.
S.C. Singh, Group General Manager, Cauvery Asset, ONGC, said the Cauvery Asset’s profit stood at Rs.1,000 crore after tax in the last financial year.