State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has reversed a seven-year decline in its crude oil production, showing a marginal increase in output in 2014-15, a top official said.
ONGC produced 22.263 million tons (MT) of crude oil during April 2014 to March 31, 2015, up from 22.247 MT in the previous fiscal, company Director (Offshore) Tapas Kumar Sengupta told PTI.
This is the first increase in production since 2007-08 when the slump started. ONGC had produced 26.05 MT of crude oil 2006-07, which dipped to 25.94 MT in the following year.
ONGC, which produces 59 per cent of India's crude oil output, has been under critical scrutiny ever since the BJP government took office 10 months back.
Oil Ministry has been on a monthly basis monitoring ONGC's performance. 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 and to 22.56 MT in 2012-13.
"The output has increased primarily due to 1.02 MT additional production from offshore fields," Sengupta said.
Offshore production rose to 16.196 MT from 15.541 MT in 2013-14 but onshore output was lower at 6.067 MT in 2014-15 as compared to 6.706 MT of the previous year.
"Majority of our fields are old and matured and this would be perhaps the only case in the world where there has been an increase in production by over 1 million tons from old fields," the ONGC official said.
For 2015-16, ONGC is targeting a total of 26 MT of oil production - 22.732 MT from its own fields and another 3.268 MT from joint venture fields like Barmer block in Rajasthan.
During 2014-15, joint venture fields produced 3.682 MT of crude oil, taking its total oil to 25.945 MT. Natural gas production was however lower at 17.27 billion cubic meters in 2014-15 as against 17.96 bcm output in the previous fiscal, Sengupta said.
"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 sometime in 2016-17," he added.
The increase in offshore production was mainly due to early monetisation of marginal fields such as D-1, B-193 and CL-7 in western offshore with the help of floating platforms and other innovative technologies, he said.
These fields will continue to boost output in 2015-16 as well, he said, adding that offshore production in 2015-16 is likely to rise to 16.61 MT.