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ONGC bets on new drilling operations

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Jan. 17

WITH a staggering $800,000 per day spent on deep water drilling, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) expects to find promising reserves from its ongoing campaign involving three drill ships over the next three years.

The campaign involves digging 47 wells off the east and west coast with the help of two foreign-chartered ships — Belfast Dolphin & Discoverer Seven Seas — and ONGC's own `Sagar Vijay', according to Mr Subir Raha, Chairman and Managing Director of the Corporation.

While Belfast Dolphin hired from Dolphin Drilling of UK is one of the most modern drill ships, capable of going to depths of 3,000 metres is working off Porbander in Gujarat, Discoverer Seven Seas would arrive next month . It would drill in the Krishna Godavari (KG) basin up to depth of 1,800 metres, Mr Raha told newspersons. ONGC is betting high on the deep water drilling exercise, as the present operations at Mumbai High are at depths of 80-100 metres. Schlumberger is providing integrated services to both the foreign ship operations, Mr Raha, who was here in connection with the International Symposium of Petroleum Geophysicists, said.

The corporation has upped its budget on exploration activity to Rs 13,000 crore out of the Rs 46,000 crore approved for the Tenth Plan period. ONGC Videsh has also got an equivalent amount for the international operations, he said.

ONGC feels that the KG basin remains a `hot area' for exploration activity— both on the Godavari (mouth and deepwater) and Krishna (mouth and deepwater). The next couple of years will be very exciting in the offshore region for all involved, including the private sector and international players, Mr Raha said.

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