ONGC pins hopes on underground gasification

Nov 24, 2003 01:00 AM

In its bid to find cheaper fuel for power generation, ONGC is now pinning hopes on underground gasification -- a method of using coal mines which cannot be extracted conventionally -- in Ahmedabad region.
The move has been inspired by intense efforts by the Institute of Reservoir Studies of the ONGC in Gujarat. Instead of mining the huge coal deposits, ONGC will use controlled combustion to generate gas. This in turn, can be used in power plants. ONGC sources said the cost of such power will be cheaper than nuclear and other conventional sources.

The corporation also revealed new finds in Surat region, which it said could be used to meet the burgeoning demand for crude, gas and power in future. Also, it will be part of ongoing effort to boost a gas-based economy. Speaking at the inaugural of ONGC's School of Maintenance and Practices, chairman and managing director ONGC Subir Raha said they would apply for a patent before year-end on their drilling and exploration technologies.
The move assumes significance especially because ONGC is planning to expand its oil exploration beyond the confines of Indian mainland and shores, he said. Raha also said the corporation will soon launch its new “third eye centre” in Vadodara like the ones already in Dehra Dun and Jorhat. The Rs 34 crore facility, based on virtual-reality technology, will help process and interpret data collected by ONGC's survey vessel.

Aimed at boosting the ONGC's equity in foreign projects, Raha pointed out that ONGC Videsh "has committed a total of $ 3 bn for projects abroad out of which $ 1.9 is already bid. In Vietnam, we have sought a 45 % share in the Lantay and Lando projects".
"We are negotiating with Sri-Lanka for new ventures. Besides a 20 % stake in Sankhlain I and Roseneft (Prirazlomnoye fields) of Russia, we hold ten properties in eight countries outside our shores," Raha added.

ONGC is also planning to launch its ambitious deep water campaign -- Sagar Sammridhi -- in the Gulf of Kutch. Through deployment of three deep-water rigs, one of which called the “Belford Dolphin” will drill 1,860 metres, ONGC plans to drill 47 wells in the next five years.
Another rig -- Seven Seas Discoverer -- which will be here by January next is believed to be the largest-ever deep water exploration executed by a single operator in the world. In its tenth five year plans, ONGC will invest Rs 3,600 crore in Gujarat to drill 177 exploratory and 347 development wells. During the 2002-2003 financial year ONGC Gujarat produced more than 6 mm tons of oil, 2.46 bn cm of gas and 2.27 mm tons of value added products (VAP).

The oil giant also plans to revive the 40-year-old oil wells in north Gujarat by investing Rs 1,500 crore. Raha also said the company has found new leads in the Ankleshwar belt, which produces one of the purest form of crude in the world.
"We have managed to increase our compression capacity at Ankleshwar and have reduced gas flare-up losses by almost two-thirds by investing Rs 250 crore over the last three years for the purpose," he added.

Source: The Times of India
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