State-run ONGC and Oil India (OIL) are in talks with Japan Petroleum Exporation (Japex), Mitsui and Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) to collaborate on enhancing domestic exploration and production (E&P) activities.

“Indian National Oil Companies (NOCs) (ONGC and OIL) have executed several agreements with International Oil Companies (IOCs) (ExxonMobil, Chevron, TotalEnergies) for collaboration in E & P activities and are also in discussions with BAPCO, JAPEX and Mitsui,” Oil Minister H S Puri said in response to a starred question in Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Detailing the efforts made by the government to enhance India’s production of crude oil and natural gas, the Minister said the government has increased the net geographical area under exploration from 2.5 lakh square kilometres (SKM) to 5 lakh SKM.

Besides, the “No Go” areas in exclusive economic zones (EEZ) have been reduced by almost 99 per cent, so 10 lakh SKM areas are now accessible in EEZ for E&P activity.

“Total operational area (active) under various licensing regimes is 3,27,456 SKM which includes exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons like Coal Bed Methane (CBM),” he added.

Scaling up production

Last month, ONGC organised roadshows in Abu Dhabi and Singapore, eyeing partnerships with global oil and gas companies for 25 offshore facilities in the next three years.

The Maharatna company is embarking on an expedited development of multiple offshore fields over the next three years. Its objective is to establish more than 25 offshore facilities, layover 1,000 km of sub-sea pipelines, and create associated infrastructure, requiring an investment of $11 billion.

The CPSU has increased its capex on E&P activities during FY24 to around Rs 10,000 crore, which is around one-third of the E&P major’s total capex for the fiscal year. Besides, it will incur a capex of around 10,000 crore annually for the next five years on exploration.

On the other hand, OIL has plans to increase E&P operations to drill more than 60 wells in the current financial year from 45 in FY23.

The company, which was accorded the Maharatna status last month, aims to surpass 4 million tonnes (MT) in crude oil production and 5 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas output by FY25.

E&P activity

Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) has signed a total of 311 production sharing contracts (PSC) involving 29 discovered fields, which includes one PSC signed for Panna & Mukta fields and 28 blocks under pre-NELP exploration blocks as well as 254 under the NELP regime with national oil companies and Private (both Indian and Foreign)/ Joint Venture companies.

Also, thirty Revenue Sharing Contracts (RSCs) have been inked under DSF (Discovered Small Field)-2016 involving 30 Contract Areas.

Since 2017, seven Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) rounds have been successfully concluded with the award of 134 exploration blocks covering 2,07,691 sq. km. area for E&P activities.