New Discovery Of Oil In Rajasthan A Step To Self-Sustainability
The total enhanced oil recovery in the Thar desert in Rajasthan is estimated to be one billion barrel and taking the current international rate of crude oil at $ 100 per barrel, the desert has oil reserved worth Rs 50,000 million. This huge deposit of oil in the desert would help the country in gaining self-sufficiency in oil, which would drastically reduce the oil import bill.
The Rajasthan government is likely to earn around Rs 8000 crore in royalty in future because of increased oil production. India’s GDP is likely to rise by 6.5 per cent if the country is self-sufficient in crude oil production.
India would have increased its GDP by a whopping 6.5 per cent if the import of crude oil was avoided completely. Add to that the sector would have provided 9.4 million person years of employment over a period of 20 years.
If 50 per cent of the domestic requirement is met by home production, it is likely to generate an additional value of $47.2 billion, as per the report.
Energy security is no longer just a desire but a critical imperative for India as it stands at the threshold of economic maturity. Oil imports currently accounted for almost 50 per cent of India’s total exports and 54 per cent of the country’s trade deficit was due to the oil trade deficit.
This fuelled a substantial weakening of rupee and resulted in a drawdown of foreign exchange to the tune of $12.8 billion. The drawdown could have been avoided had India produced 17 million tonnes over its current domestic production, according to the report.
In addition to the economic benefits, self-sufficiency can generate an additional inflow for the government of an amount equivalent to almost 25 per cent of the current total revenues that accrue to the government from the petroleum sector. The Union government today aims to make the country self-sufficient in meeting its oil needs by 2030.
“We aim to bring down our imports by 50 per cent by 2020, 75 per cent by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2030. We should become self-sufficient by finding enough reserves in the country with the help of technology,” Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily had said at the inauguration of the commencement of gas sales from the Rajasthan Block of Cairn-ONGC joint venture company.
Moily also announced that he would look into a request from Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal to delink their expansion plans with government approvals. But Anil Agarwal, the Vedanta Group chairman is sore that oil exploration in the country did not get the importance it deserved. “I am surprised in a vast country like India, there are only three exploring companies. The ONGC, Reliance and Cairn India. I wish there were at least a dozen players. The policy relating to exploration requires a fresh review. India should cut down its oil imports and aim at exploring its own resources. But the pace is very slow,” said Agarwal to Uday India.
Agarwal surprised everyone when he asked the government to appoint government-nominated director on the managing committee of the company and free them from going to the government for approvals each time. R Elango, chief executive officer of Cairn India said the 26th discovery in the Barmer basin was a very happy sign. This discovery is currently being analysed which would add to further oil production meaning cutting down the oil import bill in future.
Cairn India has made its latest oil discovery, in the RJ-ON-90/1 block, following recent policy clarity by Government of India to conduct exploration activity in development blocks. “We are delighted with the 26th discovery in the block. This reaffirms our belief that an aggressive exploration drilling programme will help harness the full potential of the Barmer Basin in Rajasthan.”
The management committee of the Union oil and gas ministry approved the exploration work programme for the RJ-ON-90/1 block in mid-February this year, post which Cairn India, commenced the drilling of its first exploration well, Raageshwari-South-1, on February 25, located in the southern part of the block. The people of Barmer celebrated the crossing of 150 million barrels production and on the same day the news of the 26th discovery came.
Mangala, the biggest oil field in Barmer started production in August 2009. After that, other big field also joined the production chart and Bhagyam, Saraswati, Guda and Aishwarya started the crude oil production. Total production from Barmer oil field is around 1.80 lakh barrel oil per day these days.
P Elango, chief executive officer of the cairn India, said that since the first production of oil in Mangla in August 2009, the company has so far produced 150 million barrels of crude oil which was transported through a state-of-the-art heated pipeline to the refineries in Gujarat. Elango said that the oil was produced from Mangla, Bhagyam and Aishwarya blocks of Rajasthan.
“We are delighted with the 26th discovery in the block. This reaffirms our belief that an aggressive exploration drilling programme will help harness the full potential of the Barmer Basin in Rajasthan,” said Elango. The management committee of the Union oil and gas ministry approved the exploration work programme for the RJ-ON-90/1 block in mid-February this year, post which Cairn India, commenced the drilling of its first exploration well, Raageshwari-South-1, on February 25 , located in the southern part of the block.
The crude production is bringing considerable revenue for the state government. Oil companies’ focus on Rajasthan has resulted in a significant number of oil and gas discoveries. Cairn made a major oil discovery (Mangala) in Rajasthan in the north-west of India at the beginning of 2004. To date, 26 discoveries have been made in the Rajasthan block RJ-ON-90/1.
Mangala-Bhagyam-Aishwarya trio also known as MBA fields have gross recoverable oil reserves and resources of approximately 1 billion barrels.
The Rajasthan block is contributing more than one fifth of current domestic crude production. The total resource base supports a vision to produce 300,000 bpd, equivalent to a contribution of more than 35 per cent of India’s current domestic crude production.
By Prakash Bhandari from Jaipur
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