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ONGC invests Rs 33 bn in Assam crude production

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation will invest Rs 33 billion to boost production of crude oil in the northeastern state.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 22:30 IST

India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will invest a whopping Rs 33 billion ($730 million) this year to boost production of crude oil in the northeastern state of Assam, officials saidon Tuesday.

The premier oil exploration firm that produces about 1.6 million tonnes of crude oil annually in Assam hopes to nearly double its production with the additional investments.

"We expect to produce about three million tonnes of crude oil with the investments used in drilling wells and associated pipelines, besides revamping existing facilities," Ajit Hazarika, director of ONGC (onshore), told journalists.

India produces about 30 million tonnes of crude oil annually, with Assam accounting for about five million tonnes of the total. Oil India Limited (OIL) produces about 3.5 million tonnes of crude in Assam annually.

Assam has over 1.3 billion tonnes of proven crude oil and 156 billion cubic metres of natural gas reserves, of which an estimated 58 per cent of hydrocarbon reserves are yet to be explored.

"Assam occupies an important position in the history of the oil industry in India and the state accounts for nearly 50 per cent of the country's on-shore crude oil production," another senior ONGC official said.

"Assam has the highest success ratio in the world with 70 per cent of the exploration sites yielding oil."

Both OIL and the ONGC have engaged foreign experts and upgrading facilities to strike new oil reserves from aging oilfields.

"We have taken up a slew of corporate strategies to increase our production to about seven million tonnes annually by 2008," an OIL official said requesting anonymity.

"An Australian firm is currently being engaged by us to have a thorough re-look at the existing oilfields and reservoirs to enhance production possibilities."

An Indian and a Canadian exploration consortium have struck a huge reserve of crude oil and natural gas in Assam recently.

An Indian petroleum ministry official said the Assam Company Limited (ACL) and its Canadian partner, Canoro Resources Limited, have found oil and natural gas at two drilling blocks in Amguri, about 345 km east of Assam's main city of Guwahati.

"The consortium has struck extremely high quality oil and gas at the two sites in the past week," the official said.

According to preliminary estimates, the two wells at Amguri could yield up to 375 barrels of oil and about 3.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The Indian petroleum ministry in October awarded exploration rights to the 295 sq km onshore block in Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China and Myanmar, to Canoro, Operator Geopetrol International Incorporate of France, and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India.

Canoro and Geopetrol, a subsidiary of the French Geofinance Group that operates in about 80 countries worldwide, are jointly engaged in exploration work in the oil-rich northeastern part of India since the past decade.

The two companies are now part of the producing Kharshing oilfield in Arunachal Pradesh that they began exploring in 1995.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 21:47 IST