AGARTALA: The state-owned ONGC has stepped up exploration activities in Tripura to unearth more gas to set up a fertilizer plant and to augment power generation, an official said.
"Currently total drilling rig strength has been increased to seven and one more rig will be deployed soon to step up the exploration of gas in Tripura," Oil and Natural Gas Corp's Executive Director S.C. Soni told the media here on Wednesday evening.
He said: "Until September last year, only three drilling rigs were operational in Tripura. Of the seven rigs, four are owned by ONGC and three are chartered."
Soni said the company has targeted to explore five MMSCMD (Million Metric Standard Cubic metre per day) by mid-2018 while the "Maharatna" company has the potential to produce around 4.3-4.5 MMSCMD from 76 wells.
"The exploration of additional gas is required to set up a fertilizer plant in north Tripura and to supplement generation of electricity."
The ONGC has planned to set up a Rs 5,000 crore fertilizer plant in northern Tripura in association with the state government and Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd, a Rajasthan based company.
Soni, who is retiring on July 31 after 35 years of service, said a total of 223 wells have been drilled by ONGC in Tripura till April and 116 were found to be gas bearing.
He said the ONGC management has approved additional investment of Rs 3,104 crore for drilling of wells and creation of surface facilities to produce more gas from Tripura gas fields.
The company had earlier commissioned its first commercial power project in India, located in southern Tripura and run by ONGC Tripura Power Co (OTPC), formed by ONGC, the Tripura government and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS).
The 726 MW capacity gas-based combined cycle power project (using both water and natural gas), situated at Palatana, 60 km from Agartala, has been supplying electricity to the seven northeastern states and 100 MW to Bangladesh.
"One more unit with a capacity of 363 MW can be set up at the Palatana power plant and for that 1.5 MMSCMD additional gas would be required. In the near future ONGC will be able to supply the additional gas to OTPC," Soni said.