ONGC to drill in Cauvery ultra-deep waters

State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will start drilling in the ultra-deep waters of the Cauvery basin in the next financial year beginning April 2023.

These are part of the domestic exploration and production (E&P) major’s efforts to scout for hydrocarbons in ultra-deep waters along India’s eastern and western coast.

“We also have a lot of foreign MNCs who are interested and they are studying data. They are looking into various financial and administrative regulatory policies and seeing whether it is conducive,” ONGC Director (Exploration) Sushma Rawat said.

Situated along India’s east coast, the Cauvery basin is spread over 1.5 lakh sq km, which comprises on-land (25,000 sq km), shallow offshore areas (30,000 sq km), and deep water offshore areas (around 95,000 sq km).

For exploration and extraction of oil & gas from complex and ultra-deep waters along the east and west coasts, ONGC has inked memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron.

“The MoUs are for conducting joint and individual technical studies. We expect Exxon’s study to end by March and Chevron’s by December 2023. They will move ahead once these studies are over,” Rawat added.

Rawat explained that the government has freed a lot of ‘no go’ zones, particularly in the western and eastern off-shore.

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