News Alert

ONGC Tripura Asset – Courage to explore, Knowledge to exceed, Technology to excel

S C Soni

ONGC, in its mission to explore and produce hydrocarbons in resource-rich North-Eastern states, started systematic geological mapping in Tripura in 1962.The state of Tripura covers an area of around 10,500 sq. km. in the western flank of Assam-Arakan Basin. 

Since 1962 ONGC’s Continuous efforts of exploration unearthed the hydrocarbon potential of Tripura and ONGC stuck gas in the first exploratory well BM#1 drilled in Baramura geological structure of Tripura during 1972-74and hence hydrocarbon potentials of Tripura Fold Belt could be established. This was followed by discovery of commercial gas in other structures/fields within Tripura state.

Over the years, eleven gas fields were discovered viz. Baramura (in the year 1975), Gojalia (in 1982), Manikyanagar (Rokhia, in 1983), Konaban (in 1986), Agartala Dome (in 1987), Tichna (in 2000), Sonamura, Sundalbari (in 2007), Kunjaban (in 2007), Tulamura (in 2008) and Khubal (in 2009). ONGC has established around 41 billion cubic metre (BCM) recoverable gas reserves in Tripura.

Out of the 11 gas fields discovered, 10 gas fields falls under PML (Petroleum Mining Lease) Nomination block category and 01 Khubal gas field falls under NELP awarded block category. Among the ten fields in PML Category, seven fields are put under production with cumulative gas production of 13.2 BCM upto Mar 2017.

A total of 221 wells have been drilled by ONGC in the state till Apr’2017 and 116 wells are found to be gas bearing which corresponds to the success ratio of 2:1. Presently around 76 wells are available for production with the gas production potential of around 4.3-4.5 MMSCMD.

In Tripura, ONGC commenced commercial gas production during 1986 and over the time the gas production has increased. Presently ONGC is supplying gas to OTPC, NEEPCO &TSECL units for power generation & to TNGC Ltd for pipe line network city gas distribution and CNG for vehicles usage. The combined installed electricity generation capacity of above gas based power plants is of 1016 MW.

ONGC ‘s average sales in Tripura has increased from 1.7 MMSCMD (Million Metric Standard Cubic metre per day in 2012-13 to 3.92 MMSCMD In 2016-17, doubling the average gas sale rate and achieved Highest ever annual Gas production of 1427 MMSCM during 2016-17.  It is pertinent to mention here that the rate of gas production is regulated by demand from the consumers, with present production potential of about 4.3 -4.5 MMSCMD.

During 2005, as part of gas marketing & field monetisation, ONGC took the initiative to conceive “Gas to Wire” concept i.e.generating electricity using natural gas as raw material. Accordingly, OTPC (ONGC Tripura Power Company Pvt Ltd), the largest gas based combined cycle thermal power plant of North Eastern India, was set up in Tripura with installed power generation capacity of 726.6 MW and ONGC is having 50 per cent equity in this company. The power from OTPC is being shared among all states of NER; with Tripura getting second highest power share of196 MW.

This biggest Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) gas based power generation project infrastructure not only enhanced the power generation but also changed socio-economic scenario of North East Region providing opportunities for setting up of more industries and increase in commerce & trade especially in state Tripura.

The surplus electricity power availability with Tripura state has given an opportunity to export electricity to neighbouring country Bangladesh improving bilateral relations & getting support of Bangladesh through allocation of band width of internet improving net connectivity. 

Natural gas being a cleaner fuel promotes a better quality of life. Taking a cue from Gas to Gas concept ONGC advocated through TNGCL (Tripura Natural Gas Corporation Ltd) for PNG (Piped Natural Gas) & CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) use of gas as fuel for domestic / industrial use and in automotive industry. 

ONGC, Tripura Asset is involved in drilling of wells on regular basis for exploring new reservoirs & exploiting the existing reservoirs to increase producing well inventory.  ONGC also carry out work over jobs for revival of the sick wells and increasing and sustaining gas production levels as well as to compensate the natural gas production decline from the gas fields.

Till Sep 2016, only 03 drilling rig were operational in ONGC Tripura Asset and at present total drilling rig strength has been enhanced to 07 rigs (04 ONGC Owned + 03 Chartered hired). These drilling resources would not only help in intensified exploration activities, but also would result in the generation of more gas production potential across the state. 03 rigs are exclusively deployed for exploration activities in Khubal NELP area in the Eastern part of Tripura,for obtaining more geological information in firming up the field development plan of Khubal to monetise gas. Also, three (03) work-over rigs are working in Tripura for revival of sick wells / production testing of wells, among these a new work over rig HH-100-1 was commissioned during Oct’2016 by honourable Governor of Tripura.

ONGC Tripura is operating 05 GCS’s (Gas Collection Stations) namely Agartala Domecapacity 2.2 MMSCMD), KONABAN (1.5 MMSCMD), ROKHIA(0.5 MMSCMD), BARAMURA (0.75 MMSCMD)& SONAMURA (0.8 MMSCMD) for processing of gas separate gas, condensate  &also water if any. The combined gas processing capacity of these GCS’s is of 5.75 MMSCMD.  Sonamura GCS started operating since 14th Dec’2016, supplying gas to NEEPCO Monarchak power plant. NEEPCO plant has completed COD of gas turbine in Dec’2016 and that of Steam Turbine inMar’2017.

ONGC Tripura Asset has taken action for setting up of a new Gojalia GCS in South Tripura by Apr’2019 and Upgradation / increasing processing capacity of existing ADB GCS by Oct’2017. Thus ONGC Tripura will be having the capability of processing total gas of 6.75 MMSCMD. ONGC has also set up gas line grid network to interconnect all these GCS and also connecting to gas consumers for supply of natural gas. Also, trunk pipeline (20”) of length 30 km is being laid between Baramura GCS and Agartala Dome GCS facilitating gas flow connection between Baramura field to gas trunk network supplying gas to OTPC & other consumers.

ONGC Tripura asset is having manpower strength of 1081 ONGCians.  In last two years, more than 250local skilled youth were given employment by ONGC - Tripura in class III & class IV in both technical and non-technical disciplines. Apart from that ONGC also provides indirect employment through its various business partners to around 800 persons. In addition to these various avenues for entrepreneurship exist around ONGC’s operational areas.

In line with Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for North-East Region, in Feb’2016, ONGC management has approved additional investment of Rs 3104 Cr for drilling of wells and creation of surface facilities to produce gas from Tripura gas fields with total investment of Rs. 5050 Cr including earlier investment of Rs 1946 Cr. The objective of the scheme is to produce & supply total gas @ 5.1 MMSCMD to various consumers of state for another 20 years through drilling of 153new wells and creation of new / augmentation of surface infrastructural facilities,  laying of 282 km pipe lines of gas grid network& 600 km of well flow lines.

ONGC Tripura Asset has also prepared 5 years (target) master plan of E & P activities planned for both Western & Eastern part of Tripura. This plan involves year wise drilling plan, identification of requirement of rig resources, surface facilities revamping, work-over inputs, technology inputs etc. Action plan is in place.

ADB GCS is largest GCS in Tripura producing gas from Agartala Dome& Kunjaban fields. In consideration to increased gas potential availability, the processing capacity of the ADB GCS is being upgraded to 2.7 MMSCMD from present 2.2 MMSCMD. The up gradation is scheduled by this year end.

Apart from the production from the presently producing seven gas fields, ONGC also has trapped potential in two other gas fields, viz. Gojalia and Tichna. With setting up of the new Gojalia GCS the drilled wells of Gojalia & Tulamura fields will be put on production facilitating monetisation of the reserves in this field. Presently, 08 wells in Gojalia & 01 well in Tulamura are available for connecting to GCS to put on production. Further nine & two new well locations are available for drilling in Gojalia & Tulamura fields respectively, for adding up to the present gas production potential. The gas production from Gojalia field is likely to commence from April 2019, which is in synchronization of the commissioning of Gojalia GCS and 58 km trunk pipeline (10”) between Gojalia GCS &GMS Palatana for supplying directly to OTPC. Necessary contracts for construction of GCS and laying of pipe line (amounting to around Rs 130 Cr) are already awarded and construction activities started. The scheduled completion of the project is dependent on the timely approval of all required statutory clearances.

Further, ONGC Tripura has action for E&P activities in Tichna Field where two wells are gas producers and nine well locations are available for drilling. The Tichna field is falling under zone of Trishna Wild Life Sanctuary area. ONGC has applied for statutory Wild Life & Forest clearances to carryout drilling activities. On getting of the same and drilling of available locations monetisation of the gas from this field can be done. The gas production from Tichna field is envisaged to commence from Dec 2021 after the creation of Tichna manifold, which would supply its gas to Sonamura GCS for processing. The exploration and production from Tichna field very much depends upon the timely wildlife and forest statutory clearances.

It is also needful to mention here that because Tripura falls in the fold belt of Assam & Assam Arakkan sedimentary Basin, the gas bearing sands are not so extensively distributed in this area. Moreover, a high degree of heterogeneity is observed in the sand because of its discrete nature. Also, in the recent past, unanticipated decline (more than normal decline) was observed in most of the producing fields of Tripura Asset.

It also needs special mention here that Tripura gas fields lie in logistically, environmentally challenged area, where good number of drill site / facility/ pipeline locations are likely to be in forest lands which needs special attention for forest clearance and facilitating timely civil/site construction for rig deployment to drill the locations / lay pipe lines.

Over and above its E&P activities ONGC as a responsible corporate entity is committed in its Corporate Social Responsibility schemes. ONGC is spending around Rs 15 cr annually in its CSR programmes, in the areas of Education development through infrastructure provision to schools, skill & entrepreneur development of women and youth, distribution of medicines / creation of health infrastructure, encouragement and development sport activities, conservation of arts & culture etc. The major projects ONGC has supported are development of Dasarath stadium, setting of IIIT in Tripura, development of model village – Korbangpara in ADC area, setting up a community FM station as part of women empowerment, creation of new toilet & kitchen block for Abalamban at Agartala etc.   

ONGC has successfully established Tripura on the World Hydrocarbon Map. Being the largest E&P Company of the nation, ONGC is committed to produce 5.1 MMSCMD gas on sustainable basis. As a responsible corporate citizen, the Maharatna is proud to be the ‘Partner in Progress of Tripura’ and is looking forward to contribute more intensively for the prosperity of the State in future through E&P activities in state for enhanced & sustained gas production,  supplying gas to all  consumers of the state. (July 26, 2017) 

* The author is ED & Asset Manager of Tripura Asset, ONGC.