Kochi: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on Sunday launched its first ultra-deep sea oil exploration in the Kerala-Konkan basin with spudding operation being started at the site.
The project, expected to be completed in 100 days time, would cost Rs 400 crore, ONGC chairman and managing director RS Sharma told reporters here.
Sharma said the initial appraisal of the project has been "quite satisfactory".
ONGC, which began its exploration activities on the Kerala-Konkan offshore in 1977, has so far drilled 12 exploratory wells -- nine in shallow waters and three in deep waters. However, commercial hydrocarbon strike has eluded in spite of a few wells giving hydro carbon indications.
This is the first exploration in the ultra-deep waters of about 6,000 metres. There are three horizons – 3900 metres, 5,000 metres and 6,000 metres. The target was to reach
3,900 metres in 15-29 days time, Sharma said.
Exploration activities carried out in various blocks in the basin had now revealed new likely `hydrocarbon plays` in the basin, ONGC said in a statement.
The exploratory efforts conducted so far in the basin have not resulted in any discovery and hence no reserves have been established as yet, Sharma said.
The problem of non availability of rigs, which was felt globally since the past few years, had caused a "setback" for the drilling operations in the country, he said. ONGC has engaged a rig from Reliance for pursuing its deep water exploration activities in both East and West coast. The first well `KK4C-Fan A` on the Kerala-Konkan basin, is being drilled by this rig which will be then shifted to East coast for drilling of other wells.
"This is the first effort after two-and-a-half years we have a rig of this category and its operating cost is about Rs 4 crore per day," Sharma said, adding that it was the first time the company had deployed so expensive services.
The location of the well, `KKFC-Fan A`, is approximately 70 nautical miles off the Kochi coast.
A second well has also been identified in the Kerala-konkan area for drilling, Director (Exploration), DK Pande said.
A few ultra-deep wells had been dug in the north, but results were not good, he said. Shallow water exploration in Kerala had not been satisfactory, he said.