ONGC demands switch in Palk Bay exploration site

India's ONGC has asked the central government to shift the location of its shallow-water oil exploration block in Palk Bay because the country's environment department says the block is under a marine biosphere.

Shirish Nadkarni
OGJ Correspondent

MUMBAI, Oct. 25 -- India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. has asked the central government to shift the location of its shallow-water oil exploration block in Palk Bay because the country's environment department says the block is under a marine biosphere.

"We have only done some seismic surveys, and could not carry on with more activities as the block comes under the marine biosphere, with the Environment Department objecting to any further work," said R.S. Sharma, ONGC chairman and managing director. "We have requested the center to shift it to another site in the Palk Bay."

In other exploration and development projects, ONGC's board has approved a $1.6 billion spending plan for Phase 2 development of its Mumbai High oil project. ONGC proposes to increase recovery from the 25-year old fields to arrest the 7-8%/year decline rate trend (OGJ Online, Oct. 10, 2007). The fields currently produce 160,000 b/d of oil.

To expand its global acreage, ONGC is offering its in-house developed heavy crude recovery technology to state-run petroleum companies in Syria and Venezuela in return for equity participation in oil and gas blocks in those countries. The in situ combustion technology is being offered to Syrian Petroleum Corp., and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, which want to improve heavy crude recovery from their respective onshore operations.

ONGC also has three new exploration blocks in Columbia recently awarded to the group's overseas arm, ONGC Videsh Ltd.

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