India discovers second major oilfield this month

NEW DELHI Import-hungry India yesterday announced the discovery of a major offshore oilfield with a reserve of 48 million tonnes of crude oil and natural gas, marking its second petroleum bonanza in 10 days.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 15 Feb 2003, 3:39 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 8:23 PM

State-owned exploration firm Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) said the latest find off the coast of Mumbai was in the periphery of the high-yield Bassein gasfield in the Arabian Sea.

"The two well-drilling campaigns west of Mumbai coast shows the presence of several hydrocarbon-bearing zones that are estimated to hold around 48 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas," a senior ONGC official here announced.

The latest find comes 10 days after India said Britain's Cairn Energy had found an oilfield in the desert state of Rajasthan with a reserve of 155 million barrels, or 20 million tonnes, of crude oil.

Besides the oilfield, the British firm also found a surprise gasfield in the region, cradled in the acrid Thar desert.

ONGC earlier this year hit a jackpot in the Arabian Sea's Bassein gasfield with the discovery of a further 97 million tonnes of crude oil and gas.

Bassein West currently produces 32 million cubic metres (1.13 billion feet) of natural gas ever day while its eastern zone holds 3.5 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves besides crude oil.

ONGC said it would integrate the new finds and pump the yields through a 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) submarine pipeline for processing before selling to domestic customers.

"The smaller discoveries are not commercially viable on their own. But if they are tied up with existing facilities, about two million tonnes of additional crude oil can be produced in the next two years," the official said.

India expects exploration firms other than ONGC to strike further oil and gas reserves in several areas of the country.

In January, India's largest private sector group Reliance Industries struck oil and gas off the coast of the western state of Gujarat with a yield of a million cubic metres a day. Last year it made one of the biggest gas hits ever in India with the discovery of seven trillion cubic feet, equivalent to 1.2 billion barrels ofcrude oil in the Krishna Godavari Basin off the country's east coast.

The recoverable reserves of over five trillion cubic feet are expected to jack up gas availability to consumers in the country by almost 60 per cent.

India hopes the string of discoveries will boost its domestic oil and gas sector where local production accounts for only 30 per cent of the nation's total consumption.

India is apprehensive that a possible war on Iraq could lead to a national energy crisis if the conflict in the Gulf drags beyond a month or expands to Kuwait.

It has drawn up plans to boost its crude oil reserve to 45 days to meet contingencies from the current storage capacity of 19 days.

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