ONGC energises crude oil output for 2nd straight year
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s (ONGC) crude oil production has risen for the second consecutive year in 2015-16 but natural gas output continues to decline. ONGC produced 22.37 million tonne of crude oil in the financial year ended March 31, 2016, a notch higher than 22.26 mt in the previous fiscal, a senior company official said.
In 2014-15 it had reversed a 7-year declining trend in crude oil production as it brought small and marginal fields in western offshore to production. Output of 22.263 mt of crude oil from April 2014 to March 31, 2015 was higher than 22.247 mt in the previous fiscal.
“Most of our major fields are three to four decade old where natural decline has set it. So the challenge before us is to arrest this by investing in enhanced and increased oil recovery schemes and bring newer deposits into production,” he said. ONGC used to produce more than three-fourth of country’s oil needs but that share has slipped down to 60 per cent now. It had produced 26.05 million tons of crude oil in 2006-07, which dipped to 25.94 mt in the following year. That year its share in nation’s oil production of 33.51 mt was 75.7 per cent. ONGC’s production fell to 25.37 mt in 2008-09; 24.67 mt in 2009-10; 24.42 mt in 2010-11; 23.71 mt in 2010-11; 22.56 mt in 2012-13 and to 22.25 mt in 2013-14.
Its 22.37 mt of output in 2015-16 is 60.5 per cent of country’s 36.95 mt of production. The company has been under critical scrutiny ever since the BJP government took office in May 2014. Oil Ministry has been monitoring its performance on a monthly basis. The official said output has increased primarily due to about 1 mt of additional production from offshore fields.
Natural gas production however continues decline, falling to 21.17 billion cubic meters (BCM) in 2015-16 from 22.02 bcm in the previous fiscal. ONGC, which produced 22.49 bcm of gas in 2008-09, saw output peak to 23.55 bcm in 2012-13 but has since then been falling.
Its current output makes up for 65.6 per cent of the country’s production of 32.25 bcm. “We are in the process of developing a series of gas fields on both western and eastern offshore and production will start to look up from this fiscal,” the official said.