State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on Sunday opened India's eighth hydrocarbon producing basin when it started oil flow from a well in the Bengal basin. Oil production commenced from the well Asokenagar-1 in 24 Pargana district, the company said in a statement.
"The well Asokenagar-1 was completed as an oil producer under an early-monetisation plan issued by the Government of India," it said. With this ONGC has discovered and put to production seven out of the eight hydrocarbon producing basins of India, covering 83 per cent of established oil and gas reserves.
ONGC is India's largest oil and gas producer contributing 72 per cent of the country's hydrocarbon production.
The Bengal basin is spread across nearly 1.22 lakh square kilometres, with nearly two-third of it falling under the waters of the Bay of Bengal.
Till now, ONGC has invested Rs 3,361 crore to explore hydrocarbon in the Bengal basin, the statement said adding Rs 425 crore will be spent on exploration activities in the basin in the coming two years.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan dedicated the new basin to the nation at a function at Asokenagar, West Bengal.
Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan congratulated ONGC said the discovery would play a role for India's energy security.
With this discovery, around seven decades of relentless endeavours by scientists and engineers of India have borne fruits, giving a new hope for robust development of West Bengal, he said.
Bengal basin finally looks set to find a place on the oil and gas map of the world, the statement quoted him as saying.
He said that the Indian government is committed to fully support ONGC to make this a turning point in its strive to bring more oil and gas from the subsurface of West Bengal and help to bring a new phase of prosperity for the state and its people along-with local employment.
First oil consignment from well Asokenagar-1 was sent to Indian Oil Corporation Ltd's (IOC) Haldi refinery on November 5.
"Re-energised by this discovery and eager to script more success stories in the newly awarded Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) acreages in the Bengal basin, ONGC has already set aside a sling of fresh geoscientific activities," the statement said.
These comprise appraisal programme of Asokenagar discovery for an area of about 739 square kilometers including 3D seismic, low frequency passive seismic (LFPS) survey and drilling of two wells.
Besides ONGC will acquire about 1,300 line km of 2D, 2,900 sq km of 3D and drill 13 wells in the next three years in the newly awarded OALP acreages.
ONGC chairman and managing director Shashi Shanker was present at the event held at the production site of Asokenagar, around 50 km from state capital Kolkata.