State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s (ONGC) natural gas production has hit an all-time high of about 70 million standard cubic meters per day as it doubles up efforts to raise domestic output to curb imports, sources privy to the development said.
ONGC produced about 64 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of gas in November last year and this year the output is close to touching 70 mmscmd, sources said.
After accounting for internal consumption, gas sales at about 56 mmscmd too are at an all-time high.
The output can rise by 24-25 mmscmd in next 1-2 years if the company gets market price, that will make about 35 billion cubic meters of recoverable reserves in discoveries in the shallow sea off Andhra Pradesh on the east and off Gujarat and Mumbai on the west coast blocks economically viable.
Natural gas is the fastest growing primary energy source in the world. It is the cleanest burning petroleum-based fuel and has wide applications — from being used to generate electricity to the running of automobiles (CNG) and firing kitchen stoves.
With a view to reducing dependence on imports for meeting energy needs and cutting greenhouse emissions, India is looking at increasing consumption of natural gas by more than doubling its share in energy basket to 15 per cent in next few years.
Sources said that ONGC has been constrained by the current $3.36 per million British thermal unit price of gas fixed by the government, which is a third of the rate at which India imports gas in its liquid form (LNG).
This price is way below the cost of production for block GK-28/42 in Gulf of Kutch, off the Gujarat coast, Mumbai offshore block MB-OSN-2005/1 and Krishna Godavari basin block KG-OSN-2005/1, which cumulatively can produce about 10 mmscmd.
Sources said that the company has stepped up efforts to bring newer fields into production after Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a stiff target of reducing oil import dependence by 10 per cent by 2022. India currently imports over 80 per cent of its oil needs.
The growth in output was largely contributed by C-26 Cluster fields, Daman and Vasai East fields in the western offshore as well as sub-sea well S2AB in the eastern offshore, sources said adding ONGC has charted out a plan to double the gas production at 42.7 bcm by 2021-22.
It is investing Rs 57,000 crore – one of the highest investments in the world in gas projects – in the high potential KG-DWN-98/2 project in the Bay of Bengal as well as in developing other discoveries on off the west coast.