Bihar’s hope for finding oil reserve, even after the successful prospecting company like Cairn Energy failed to make headway in striking oil within the stipulated time frame, is not over as yet.
This time around, the state government has placed its bet on India’s own oil company—-Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and its joint venture (JV) partner Tata Petrodyne Limited—-to explore oil and natural gas in an area spreading over 2227 sq km in West Champaran district.
Singing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the ONGC—Tata Petrodyne JV, principal secretary, Mines and Geology Department, Phool Singh said that the government was hopeful that the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) agreement with the operator would yield results. They would be using latest state-of-the-art technology and investing over Rs 50 crore for aggressively exploring the existence of oil and natural gas in Bettiah.
"ONGC has already spent Rs 50 crore in Purnea. Scientific basis suggest the presence of oil there," Singh said.
The state cabinet, it may be noted, had approved a PEL application of ONGC--Tata Petrodyne JV earlier this month. A formal agreement was signed by the principal secretary, Phool Singh, on behalf of the state government and ONGC's General Manager (Frontier Basin), NK Verma in the presence of Tata Petrodyne Chief Financial Officer A Guha on Thursday.
Verma said that a team had already set up base in Bettiah and the exploration work for the first phase would commence in November. Initially, 2D seismic survey, using latest seismic data recording system, would be taken up, which would be followed by a geochemical survey using advanced technology.
"The surveys will be supplemented with gravity magnetic and Magneto-Telluric surveys in the coming years. The data generated by the surveys will be studied or interpreted on high-tech work stations with sophisticated softwares to pin point the prospective area in the block," he said.
The ONGC, which carried hydrocarbon exploration till nineties and restarted exploration in 2007—2008 in Purnea, Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar districts, will carry out the exploratory surveys and drilling with an objective to put Bihar on the hydrocarbon map of the country. "Based on the analysis of data, the JV will drill a well up to a depth of 3500 metres in phase II," he said.