Hydrocarbon data mining: Petroleum Ministry for making NDR an ‘autonomous body’

Richa Mishra New Delhi | Updated on January 01, 2021

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan   -  PTI

Will act as a catalyst for promoting extensive exploration and production activities

Given the need to accelerate hydrocarbon explorations in the country, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is considering creating an autonomous body that will mine the data, which is the key for improving India’s strike rate in the sector.

“An institutionalised approach is needed to generate exploration data to significantly de-risk exploration business in the country. We are thinking of proposing the constitution of an autonomous body,” Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel, told BusinessLine.

At present, all data acquired from exploration and production (E&P) activities in sedimentary basins of the country is stored in the National Data Repository (NDR) in Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). The full potential of NDR remains to be tapped. Therefore, a thinking has emerged in the Ministry to create an autonomous body, in the form of a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 which will retain the brand name of ‘National Data Repository’.

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As on now, bulk of the sedimentary basins, especially in offshore areas, is unexplored. Hence, it is imperative to create a dynamic eco-system to encourage exploration and to transform NDR into a professional organisation capable of functioning as a catalyst for promoting extensive E&P activities, an official said.

What is an autonomous body?

It is set up by the government for a specific purpose. It is independent in day-to-day functioning, but the government has some control over them. The government funds them in some way — revenue expenditure, capital expenditure, or both.

The proposed branded NDR will enable acquisition and dissemination of exploration data to all stakeholders. In fact, if the Ministry has its way, the same might find a mention in Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s forthcoming Union Budget.

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The intent is to transform NDR to scale up efficiency in data management, share E&P data with wider section of stakeholders, promote exploration activities by providing latest data to update resource mapping, trigger quality data generation and mature into a database platform where data science methods including big data analytics can be used to gain subsurface understanding and mitigate risks in exploration.

According to officials, the proposed NDR will generate, validate, archive, preserve, reproduce and disseminate all data and samples relating to prospecting, exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons. The body will also promote and facilitate data disclosure, data reporting, data exchange and data trading between the Central Government or its nominee and other parties.

The proposed body will also create and maintain a modern platform for effective application of data analytics, reporting, mapping, and visualization techniques. It will also encourage new prospecting, exploration, development and production activities by providing high quality and reliable geo-scientific and engineering data.

Published on January 01, 2021

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