India's natural gas production has risen above the pre-COVID level following the start of output from a KG-D6 field operated by Reliance Industries Ltd and its partner BP Plc, upstream regulator DGH said on Thursday.
Natural gas production in the country in February 2020 was 80 million standard cubic meters per day and in January this year it reached 82 mmscmd, said Anand Gupta, Additional Director General (Development), Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).
"Yesterday the production was 84 mmscmd," he said at the 'Upstream Ahead' conference. "By end of the month, production is expected to reach 85 mmscmd," he said.
The rise in output, he said, was a result of Reliance Industries and its partner BP Plc of UK starting production from a field in their KG-D6 block.
"BP along with Reliance has made it possible," he said.
DGH, the government custodian of upstream oil and gas production in the country, said production levels are likely to be higher in the 2021 calendar year.
This will be the first year to see an increase in output since 2019-20.
"Outlook for gas production is much better this year," he said.
While state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) continue to produce at almost the same levels as of November, the total gas production has risen because of R-Series fields in the KG-D6 block commencing production.
"Production from BP-Reliance block has touched 6 mmscmd and is slated to cross 13 mmscmd by June," he said.
Peak production from R-Cluster will be 12.9 mmscmd, according to the operators.
Satellite fields in the same KG-D6 block, which are supposed to begin output from the third quarter of the 2021 calendar year, would produce a maximum of 7 mmscmd. MJ field will start production in the third quarter of 2022 and will have a peak output of 12 mmscmd.
According to the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), India's gas imports (in LNG form) were almost flat during April-December.
Fertilizer plants (33%), power generating units (18%), city gas distribution projects (18%) and refineries (13%) are the biggest consumers of gas.
According to DGH, gas makes up for 6.23% of all energy consumed in the country.
The government wants the share of natural gas in the energy basket to be raised to 15% by 2030.
Achieving that share would mean India's consumption of gas would have to rise to 500 mmscmd by 2030 from 150 mmscmd now, DGH said.
The government wants to promote the use of natural gas as it is cheaper, environment friendly and cuts carbon footprint.