Located between two petroleum producing basins of the South...
– the Krishna Godavari Basin and the Cauvery Basin – the Palar Basin, spread over 1,800 sq km, was awarded to the ONGC during the seventh round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).
ONGC said each well will cost Rs 30 crore and take three months to wrap up the drilling process.
Work on the two wells will only mark the beginning of an effort to explore the potential of the block, which comprises areas of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.
Palar Basin is geologically classified as a Gondwana basin, where the deposits are of a very ancient period. The drilling here is termed as a ‘wild cat’, where we hope to strike hydrocarbons and they could be oil, gas or both, said an ONGC official.
A public hearing for the exploration was conducted by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in March this year. The executive summary of the project said three exploratory drilling wells are to be drilled at a depth of up to 2,000-2,500 metres.
As a precursor to the exploration and drilling, detailed 3D seismic surveys besides geological and geochemical surveys were conducted recently.
“Whatever emerges from this drilling exercise will provide us valuable information in charting out our future course of exploration," said an official.
Meanwhile, ONGC will begin work on urea plant in Tripura next year. The state government has already allocated 800 acres of land near Khobal gasfield. The plant will cost around Rs 5000 crore.
With the commissioning of the project, the urea demand for the entire northeastern region would be made and a large chunk of the produce could be exported.
The site has been selected considering the close proximity to Khobal gas field from where natural gas (hydrocarbon) would be supplied. ONGC had discovered huge gas reserves at Khobal near the Assam-Agartala National Highway (NH-44) in 2011 and chief minister Manik Sarkar, had requested the company's CMD Sudhir Vasudeva to set up a fertiliser manufacturing company in Tripura to ensure optimum utilisation of natural gas.
Later, ONGC invited expression of interest for setting up the manufacturing unit. The state government, ONGC and private sector Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals had signed memorandum of understanding on April 9 to set up the project.
Carrying of over machines for the proposed plant is difficult due to the hilly terrain of the region, but it would be easier to carry them via Bangladesh if the country allows the use of its waterways, land routes and ports. Bangladesh had extended the same cooperation for setting up the 726 mg watt gas-fired thermal project at Gomati district.