The government of Bihar and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation on Thursday signed an agreement to explore petroleum and natural gas in a 2227-sq km area in the state’s West Champaran district.

The agreement was signed by Phool Singh, Principal Secretary, Mines and Geology department, and ONGC’s General Manager (Frontier Basin), N K Verma, in the presence of Tata Petrodyne Chief Financial Officer A Guha here.

The state cabinet had approved a Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) application of ONGC and Tata Petrodyne earlier this month.

Official sources said the exploration work of the first phase would start this year with a 2D seismic survey using latest seismic data recording system and then a geochemical survey using advanced technology.

“The surveys will be supplemented with gravity magnetic and Magneto-Telluric surveys in the coming years. The data generated by the surveys will be studied or interpreted on high-tech work stations with sophisticated softwares to pin point the prospective area in the block,” they said.

ONGC has planned to carry out the exploration and subsequent drilling a well up to a depth of 3500 metres.