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Rituraj Baruah

ONGC, TotalEnergies plan joint venture

The firm is looking for tie-ups with other energy majors.

“For deepwater, talks are underway with Total. Andamans, which is coming up, is mostly deepwater. The government has an Island Exploration Project, a lot of seismic data is being acquired in the Andamans which will be processed and analysed. Within a month we will know whether Total would be coming there with us and in what way. With Total we still have to sign an MoU. The talks are in the final stages," she added.

While the initial survey is being done by the Centre, she said the blocks would be up for auction either through the open acreage licensing policy (OALP-XI) round of auction or there may be a separate round for deepwater exploration and production. “We have prepared the blocks, we need to submit them," she said.

The Centre has been ambitious with the National Island Exploration Project, seeking to reduce its import dependence for crude oil in a volatile global market scenario.

Talking of the tie-ups and joint ventures, Rawat said apart from Total, the Maharatna company is also looking for tie-ups with other major players in exploration and production, as well as carbon capture, among others.

“For international partnerships we had a global outreach programme, which was initiated 2-3 years ago by the then chairman-managing director of ONGC. In that area we have gone ahead, and held a lot of technical discussions and four MoUs have been signed right from ExxonMobil to Equinor to Chevron and all. So, we are looking forward to tie ups with Total and others right from exploration and enhanced oil recovery to carbon capture and renewables." In August 2022 ONGC signed an agreement with American oil and gas major ExxonMobil for deepwater exploration at India’s east and west coasts. The tie-up is expected to firm up by March-end, she said. “ExxonMobil (contract) is totally (for) deepwater. They have been looking at the data both at the east cost and west coast. They will let us know at the end of March, when their entire study is complete, and identify areas they would like to go for acreage bidding, or may be it will be a joint venture with ONGC," she said.

She further said: “We are looking at joint venture between ONGC and ExxonMobil. Right now the technical teams are sitting together and analyzing the data we processed. With ExxonMobil its little bit ahead in terms of but they have given their timeline as March end for them to decide, whether they will come in for a partnership for bidding and exploration."

Rawat added that ONGC is likely to announce a partnership with French company IFP in a month’s time for technical domain, software model building and interpretation in order to reduce uncertainty and assure risk management.

Speaking on company pilot project for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) for which ONGC has tied up with Norwegian state-owned energy company Equinor, the director (exploration) said that both the companies will discuss the timeline for the project, required investment and if other players need to be involved in the project.

She also said that talks are underway with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) for the procurement of carbon dioxide from the company and the required investment amount would depend upon the cost for carbon dioxide procurement.

“We want to take in carbon dioxide and pump it underground, store it in the field which has been producing for a very long time now. So, that is Gandhar in the Cambay basin. For that we have a tie up with the Equinor. They have their project Northern Lights in the North Sea. We would be requiring carbon dioxide from Indian Oil Corporation. For them it is a waste product that we will pump in into the reservoir."


Rituraj Baruah

Rituraj Baruah is a senior correspondent at Mint, reporting on housing, urban affairs, small businesses and energy. He has reported on diverse sectors over the last six years including, commodities and stocks market, insolvency and real estate. He has previous stints at Cogencis Information Services, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) and Inc42.
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