State-owned ONGC today said it will invest Rs 17,615 crore in the current fiscal to drill a record 535 wells to augment oil and gas production.
The firm drilled 503 wells in 2017-18, the highest number in last 27 years. Of these, 119 were exploratory and 384 development wells.
Oil and Natural Gas Corp said in a statement that in order to assess the prospectivity of existing acreages in a time-bound manner and add to the reserves, more focus was laid on exploratory drilling.
It had targeted to spend Rs 16,038 crore in the fiscal year ended March 31 to drill 496 wells including 110 exploratory and 386 development wells.
"However, the company has drilled 503 wells at a cost of approx Rs 14,200 crore which is 11.5 per cent lower than the budget outlay. The initiatives taken by the company to optimize cost and enhance operational efficiencies has yielded additional savings in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018," the statement said.
This is the second consecutive year that ONGC has drilled over 500 wells. In 2016-17, it drilled 501 wells at a cost of Rs 15,440 crore.
ONGC's increased drilling initiative comes at a times when it is looking to step up domestic output to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi's target of reducing import dependence by 10 per cent by 2022.
ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker said, "We have taken measures to improve our operational efficiency by better well designs, inducting new technologies, improving cycle-speed, standardization of well testing procedures and minimizing idling period of rigs.
"What's more remarkable is that among the 119 exploratory wells drilled, 8 were in the deep-water fields against initial target of 6 and 45 in shallow-water fields against target of 38." In order to have a more focused approach in drilling operations, a new concept 'Company within Company' was rolled out in Mumbai High (MH) Asset to bring about operational efficiency in offshore drilling operations. "The plan has already paid rich dividends as MH Asset achieved highest-ever cycle and commercial speeds," Shanker said.
For the current fiscal, ONGC has set a capex outlay of Rs 17,615 crore on drilling activities.
The company has set an ambitious target to drill 535 wells, of which 24 are deep-water development wells as part of Cluster-2 development of KG-DWN-98/2 project, off the East-Coast of India. The company is also set to drill 30 wells as part of its CBM development project.
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