Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited plans to nearly double natural gas production in four years as it invests billions of dollars to produce from newer discoveries, the state-owned firm's chairman Shashi Shanker said. India's biggest oil and gas producer is investing Rs 920 billion in 35 major projects which include 14 to bring new finds to production and six to improve recovery from the ageing fields.
"We have almost 70 per cent of oil production coming from mature fields. My primary challenge is to step up production," said Shanker, who took over as the Chairman of Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) last month. Plans on table would help raise crude oil production from 22.25 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 27 MT by 2021-22, he said. Natural gas output is envisaged to rise from 22 billion cubic meters (60 million standard cubic meters per day) to 42 bcm (115 mmscmd) in FY'22, he said. ONGC's roadmap to raise output comes two years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the target for reducing oil import dependence by 10 per cent, from 77 per cent in 2013-14.
India spends almost USD 1 trillion on crude imports from financial year 2005-06 to 2015-16. The company's oil production will rise to 23 MT in the current fiscal and to 23.6 MT in 2018-19, 24.3 MT in 2019-20, 26.4 MT in 2020-21 and 27 MT in 2021-22. Shanker said ONGC is investing over USD 5 billion in developing oil and gas discoveries in the Krishna Godavari basin block KG-DWN-98/2, which sits next to Reliance Industries' flagging KG-D6 fields. Production is expected to start in 2020 with peak oil output seen at 78,069 barrels per day and 16.6 mmscmd of gas.
"The challenges facing ONGC, as I see, include finding out ways to increase domestic production, delivering projects under implementation on time and attrition," he said. Also, natural gas pricing is a challenge as current rate of USD 2.89 per million British thermal unit is way below USD 4.5 needed to cover for cost and provide reasonable return, he said. "We have made representations to the government (on the issue). We are optimistic something will happen on this front," he said. As on October 1, 2016, ONGC had 577 hydrocarbon discoveries. Most of them were either in production or action had been initiated to monetise them.
The roadmap for increasing output addresses monetisation plan of all the discoveries of ONGC, barring about 42 finds which are isolated/far from existing infrastructure, or have very low volumes or are located in difficult areas.
ONGC's output from the currently producing fields is projected to fall from 18.5 MT in the current fiscal to 12.66 MT in 2021-22. This is to be supplemented by about 5.3 MT expected from fields where investment approval has already been given and another 8.45 MT from the fields that are under conceptualisation or investment approval is under process. For natural gas, the output is projected to drop from 19.73 billion cubic meters from current fields to 11.9 bcm in 2021-22.
The situation is rescued by fields that are under development or conceptualisation that will give 29.65 bcm in 2021-22.