When we talk about the Andaman group of Islands, we generally refer to them as a place to enjoy and experience the thrills of life. It’s not our fault, as successive governments did not put much effort to change this perception. But, what if I tell you that the islands are said to hold oil reserves and that too in humongous proportions. Let’s talk about the wonders of Andamans.
Oil drilling in Andamans
According to a report by The Economic Times, the Modi government is geared up for capital investment in Andaman. It is planning to fund an ONGC-led drilling campaign in the region. It is a well thought out move, as the government first collected 22,500-line kilometres of 2D Seismic data under its National Island Exploration Project. Only then did the deliberations about the funding kick off.
The data was handed over to ONGC, which found out that currently it is not able to carry the responsibility alone. The exploration requires deep-water experience, which ONGC currently lacks in. But, it is in discussions with US based ExxonMobil and the UK based Shell for future collaborations. To expedite the process, the Modi government has provided regulatory exemptions from Defence and Space departments. The cost of exploring 1 well is estimated to be around Rs 350-400 crores, and ONGC is planning to drill 3-4 such wells.
Geography is suitable for oil
Apparently, this will be the first time when an exploration of such proportions will be kicked off in the region. However, the talks of Andamans having oil reserves are not new. They are decades old. The Andamans fall in the Bay of Bengal. Its geographical location is similar to that of the Middle-Eastern oil reserve.
Middle East’s huge oil reserve is possible due to the geological fact that the crustal plate of Saudi Arabia enters below the crustal plate of Iran into 1200 degree Celsius magma. The resultant chemical reactions give birth to hydrocarbons. It is a widely held opinion among scientists that similar process is happening in the Bay of Bengal. In the particular region, the Indo-Australian plate is diving under the Eurasian Crustal Plate, leading to the production of crude oil and hydrocarbons.
Previous estimates and further developments
In 2003, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon had estimated that the region may house around 610 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas. Furthers more explorations pinned the potential to 1296 billion barrels. In subsequent years, through policies like NELP, HELP and OALP, successive governments encouraged mainly government owned oil companies to hunt for oil in the region. For this purpose, blocks were identified and allotted to respective companies. ONGC holds a total of 3 blocks in the Andaman waters, while Oil India currently holds 1 and is expected to get few more in the future; depending on how much success it gets in current exports.
Not just Indian companies, foreign companies too have set their eyes on the resource rich region. In 2020, it was reported that UK based Premier Gas was planning to start exploration drilling in the Andamans. According to the company’s estimates, Andaman II and South Andaman blocks contain 6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 200 million barrels of condensate.
Aatmanirbharta in energy is the need of the hour
The estimates may vary depending upon who is taking the survey, but the exploration and drilling is worth it. Simply because, India is overly dependent on energy imports for fulfilling its domestic needs. Even to this date, we import anywhere between 80-85 per cent of our oil. The sadder part is that, billions of Dollars that are forex reserves are burned to fuel the pride of Middle Eastern countries, the countries whose civilisational ethos we fundamentally disagree with.
Though, India has taken some efforts to curb it. For one, Russia is soon expected to become our foremost oil importer. But, that frenzy may be short-lived. Additionally, we are quickly moving towards green energy and in fact, have a PLI scheme especially earmarked for electric vehicles.
But, it will take years for us to get to the desired goals. For the time being, we have to contend with oil and Andamans may ensure that we do not have to contend with Middle East.
Support us to strengthen the ‘Right’ ideology of cultural nationalism by purchasing best quality garments from TFI-STORE.COM