Under an ambitious plan, the government will lay 6,900 km of gas pipelines to link Bangladesh, Myanmar, and West Bengal and most north-eastern states in India, ONGC executive director SC Soni said.
“As part of Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for north-eastern region, 6,900 km pipelines would be laid connecting Sitwe (Myanmar), Chittagong (Bangladesh), most north-eastern states, Siliguri and Durgapur,” Soni told reporters on Saturday.
Currently, large quantities of gas are burned in the north-eastern region because it can’t be piped to the consumers, he said.
“The policy related to sale of gas from small and isolated gas fields is more inclined to the seller side. So, ONGC and Oil India Ltd are not able to sell the gas, which is flared now.”
The plan is to carry the gas elsewhere for productive purposes, Soni said.
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) signed an agreement in April this year to jointly set up a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminal plant in the Chittagong port city, which will help pipe gas to the north-eastern states.
There is also a sale-purchase agreement between Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) in Assam and BPC for the construction of a pipeline from Siliguri in West Bengal to Parbatipur in Bangladesh for supply of High Speed Diesel (HSD) to the neighbouring country, Soni said.
This agreement figured in talks in June last year between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The two leaders directed the officials of their countries to finalise the terms for establishment of a joint venture company that will construct and operate the pipeline.
The first high-level meeting in this regard was held in Guwahati last week and the second will be held in Agartala later this year to finalise the laying of pipeline to carry gas, LPG and HSD, he said.
Thirteen routes with a total length of about 6,900 km of pipelines have been proposed for the purpose.
The Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 envisions doubling the production of oil and natural gas in the north-east and promoting trade in the region and the neighbouring Saarc countries, Soni said.
The ONGC Board has approved a plan to invest Rs 5,050 crore by 2022 to explore more gas in Tripura, he said.
“Under this plan, new wells would be drilled and additional surface facilities would be created to increase gas production from 5.1 million standard cubic metres per day (MSCMD) to at least 6.25 MSCMD from Tripura gas fields,” he said.
ONGC has so far discovered 11 gas fields in the state, seven of which are in production, said Soni, who is also the asset manager of ONGC Tripura.
Under the investment plan to produce and supply 6.25 MSCMD to various consumers, including for production of electricity, over another 15 to 20 years, at least 153 wells are to be drilled, he added.
“To enhance gas production, processing and supply capabilities, the GCS (Gas Collection Centre) in Sonamura, Gojalia and Konaban would be upgraded and around 900 km gas pipelines would be laid.”
The ONGC Tripura asset was carrying out its drilling activities with three owned rigs under operation and well servicing operations through two work-over rigs, he said.
Additional four to five rigs would be hired to intensify the exploration activities.
Tripura gas fields and pipeline locations are in very challenging locations that require forest clearance and special efforts for timely construction, he said.
ONGC has so far drilled about 209 wells in Tripura — more than half of which are gas-bearing, Soni said.
The company has also commissioned its first commercial power project in India, located in southern Tripura and run by ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC).
It’s a 726 MW gas-based combined cycle power project (using both water and natural gas), located at Palatana, 60 km from here.
“Electricity is being supplied to seven of the eight North-eastern states from the Palatana power project. Also 100 MW of power is being supplied to Bangladesh since March,” Soni said.
ONGC has also planned to set up a Rs 5,000-crore fertiliser plant in Tripura in association with the state government and Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd.
“We will drill at least 12 gas wells in northern Tripura to feed gas to the proposed fertiliser plant,” Soni added.