India Considers Pool for Oil, Gas Exploration

Wednesday, May 09, 2007
India has proposed forming a rig pool for state-run oil companies to avoid delays in oil and gas exploration. An adequate number of rigs could be considered for purchase and government-owned companies would pool in money for them. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry worked out the proposal on the basis of recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee attached to the ministry. The ministry said the pool would serve the purpose of all state-owned companies and reduce the financial burden of individually owning the rigs. The standing committee report said that in view of the increasing cost of chartering offshore rigs, the oil companies can commonly charter rigs at cheaper rates on a long-term basis and share the rigs among themselves as per a pre-determined work program. India's gas major Oil and Natural Gas Corp. was able to drill only 88 wells against 138 exploratory wells in the current year, which triggered the ministry to explore the option of a common pool.

The ministry said oil companies have faced problems both in shallow and deep-water explorations due to a shortage of rigs. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons has suggested that oil companies form four consortiums -- one on each coast -- to hire rigs and save money.

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