News Oil & Gas

oil india: Oil India doubles down on drilling, EOR to boost output

Oil India will expand its drilling activity by 50% this year, expand exploration to new areas, and deploy enhanced oil recovery techniques in matured fields to substantially boost output, its chairman has said.

Oil India, which reported a record-high profit of Rs 6,810 crore for 2022-23, increased its oil production by 5.5% to 3.18 million metric tonnes (mmt) and gas output by 4.4% to 3.18 billion cubic meters (bcm) during the year. The growth is on top of the output expansion that has gone into offsetting the natural decline in matured fields, chairman and managing director Ranjit Rath said.

The oil production is targeted to rise to 3.4 mmt in the current fiscal, Rath said. Oil India aims to reach a production of 4 mmt of oil and 5 bcm of gas in a few years. It has engaged consultants to draw up a strategic roadmap for 2040, which would include pathways not just for exploration and production, the core activity of the firm, but also the downstream and low-carbon businesses, Rath said.

Oil India plans to drill more than 70 exploration and development wells in the current and the next fiscal years, up from 45 in the previous year and 38 in 2022-23.

Oil India, in alliance with ONGC, is in discussion for a stake in a Kenyan oilfield, Rath said, without giving details. Indian firms are reportedly seeking a 50% stake in Tullow Oil’s Lokichar oilfield in Kenya.

Production at Russian fields in which Oil India has stakes hasn’t shown any decline despite the OPEC+ decision to curb output, Rath said. The consortium of Oil India, Indian Oil and BPCL have about $300 million of dividends stuck in Russia, Oil India’s finance chief Harish Madhav said. The dividends from Russian fields are safely parked in Indian banks in Russia, Rath said.

The company aims to complete by December 2024 the capacity expansion at subsidiary Numaligarh Refinery (NRL) and the construction of 1640-km crude pipeline connecting it to the Paradip port, Rath said. The combined project would cost Rs 28,000 crore. A decision on NRL’s merger into Oil India would be evaluated only after the refinery’s expansion is completed, he said. The company is in discussion with marketing companies to sell NRL’s refined products in Bangladesh after the refinery expansion is completed, he said.

Oil India is also planning to use cascades to transfer natural gas from its fields to its city gas license areas in Assam to serve its customers, Rath said. The gas evacuation will be much easier once the under-construction gas pipeline grid in the North-East is completed, he said. Indradhanush Gas, a joint venture of state-run oil and gas companies, is building the North-East gas grid.

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