ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), the overseas investment arm of India’s state owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), plans to invest US$150 million in exploration in fiscal year 2018.

Plans include drilling more wells in Colombia, where the company recently made a commercial discovery, and exploration activities in Kazakhstan and Bangladesh.

OVL, which operates Colombia’s CPO-5 Block, recently made a commercial discovery with its Mariposa-1 exploration well. OVL holds a 70%participating interest in the block and South American oil major Amerisur Resources holds the remaining 30%. Drilled to a total depth of 3,522 m (11,556 ft) in May, Mariposa-1 has been officially classified as a discovery, Amerisur said in an Aug. 9 update.

Providing technical details, Amerisur said a 7-in. production liner was successfully run and cemented in the well, and an interval of about 4 m (12 ft) at the top of about 37 m (120 ft) of net pay logged in the L3 sandstone was perforated to perform a short-term test with a drillstem test temporary string.

The well was tested in natural flow over a variety of choke sizes, with appropriate closed-in pressure buildup periods, to ascertain reservoir parameters. The natural controlled flow rate recorded was about 4,601 bbl of 40.8 degree API oil per day with a water cut of 0.35% and 348 psi flowing wellhead pressure over a 40/64-in. choke, the statement said. The results indicated strong further production potential.

The well has been closed in following interpretation of the short-term test data. OVL is expected to present an evaluation plan, including provision for a long-term test on Mariposa, to Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH) in the coming weeks. Once approved, the company hopes to bring Mariposa-1 onstream in second-half 2017.


OVL has also accelerated its exploration efforts in Kazakhstan and Bangladesh. The company has started drilling in the Caspian Sea offshore Kazakhstan as it prepares to drill in Bangladesh.

In 2011, OVL bought a 25% stake in Kazakhstan’s Satpayev oil block, paying $ 13 million to Kazakhstan. In addition, the Indian explorer paid$80 million as a one-time assignment fee to KazMunaiGas (KMG).At that time OVL committed a minimum exploration investment of$165 million and an additional optional expenditure of $235 million to the Satpayev project in Kazakhstan. Reports suggest that the company has already invested $150 million in Satpayev and will invest a total of $400 million in exploration.

The Satpayev Block, measuring 1,582 sq km (611 sq miles), is located in the North Caspian Sea in water depths between 6 m and 8 m (20 ft and 26 ft) and has two prospective areas that hold an estimated 256 million tonnes of oil and natural gas resources. It lies near four major discoveries.

OVL estimates a peak output of 287,000 barrels per day from the Satpayev and Satpayev Vostochni (East) structures.

Besides, Kazakhstan developments, OVL also plans to spud an exploratory well in shallow water offshore Bangladesh.


A joint venture (JV) that comprises OVL and Oil India Ltd. (OIL) signed production-sharing contracts (PSC) for shallow-water blocks SS-04 and SS-09 in Bangladesh in August 2013. The government of Bangladesh approved the award of the blocks to OVL-OIL consortium on December 2013. Under the contract signed, OVL-OIL agreed to spend $103.2 million during the initial exploration of the two blocks.

OVL operates the 7,026-sq-km (2,713-sq-mile) Block SS-09 and holds a 45% interest in the PSC, while OIL holds 45% and state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum E&P Co. (BAPEX) holds remaining 10%. The adjacent Block SS-04 covers 7,226 sq km (2,790 sq miles).

Under the terms of the contract, the OVL-OIL JV will be allowed to operate and sell oil and gas for 20 years from an oil field and 25 years from a gas field. However, Bangladeshi law stipulates the two firms cannot sell gas outside the country and must first offer the fuel to national oil firm Petrobangla. If Petrobangla does not accept the offer within six months, the JV can sell the gas to anyone within Bangladesh.

OVL aims to increase its output by 14% to 14.37 million tonne (MT) this year, with its fields in Russia contributing half of the total. In 2016-2017, OVL produced 12.57 MT of crude oil and equivalent natural gas from its assets abroad. Currently OVL has 37 oil and gas assets in 17 countries and contributes 14.9% and 12.9% of India’s oil and natural gas production, respectively.