India gives Ratna and R-Series fields back to ONGC

The Indian government has decided to take back the Ratna and R-Series fields located offshore Mumbai, and award them to ONGC.

The field was originally developed by ONGC but the government, during 1995-96, issued an award of the contract for development of the field to a consortium of Essar Oil Limited and Premier Oil limited, after which ONGC stopped production.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday said it was cancelling the letter of award it had approved back in 1996 under which the two fields were to be awarded to the Essar Oil-lead consortium.

The Ratna & R-Series consist of a number of offshore oil and gas accumulations located approximately 130 km southwest of Mumbai.

The fields were planned to be awarded under the Discovered Field Policy of the government announced during 1992 – 93 in the wake of economic liberalization.

It was planned that the development of these fields through private sector / joint sector development by signing the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) would facilitate in creating additional value for the country from such projects, the ministry said.

Explaining the move, the government said that the production sharing contracts for the fields with Essar could not be signed during last two decades “owing to number of reasons” and the “intended contribution of the Ratna and R-series fields in achievement of overall policy objective could not be attained.”

“Considering huge financial stakes for the Government in terms of the statutory levies accruing from crude and natural gas production from these fields and with an overall objective of increasing domestic hydrocarbon production by expeditious development of these fields, the Government decided that the Fields may be reverted back to the original licensee, ONGC, who had initially developed these fields partially and operated and obtained production from these fields till 1994,” said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

According to data found on Essar Oil’s website, ONGC had previously drilled 35 exploration and nine development wells in the Ratna Fields. Essar’s info reveals that there are certain existing facilities, including an R-12 platform and a single-buoy mooring terminal, that may be used after refurbishment alongside additional development infrastructure and facilities to be put in place for the fields’ development.

However, Economic Times says that the existing facilities “have been deteriorating as a result of ‘plundering and looting’ of platform utilities and equipment.”

A presentation by Essar reveals that the area contains 81mmboe in  2C resources of which 92% is oil, and 8% gas.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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