New Delhi: State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) wants to drill eight wells in its gas discovery block in the prolific Krishna-Godavari Basin off the Andhra coast to appraise finds it has made in the area.

The firm has made 10 discoveries in the KG Basin's KG-DWN-98/2 block, which sits next to Reliance Industries' showpiece producing KG-D6 gas fields, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R P N Singh said on Thursday.

"ONGC has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (and) Directorate General of Hydrocarbons requesting permission for drilling eight additional exploratory/appraisal wells in block KG-DWN-98/2 and also seeking an extension of the exploration period for drilling these wells," he said a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

The state-run firm estimates that the block holds an in-place volume of 25.61 million tonnes of oil and 197 billion cubic metres of natural gas. It is proposing an investment of over USD 7.7 billion to produce up to 30 million standard cubic metres per day of gas from the block.

Singh said ONGC had submitted a proposal last year to declare its UD-1 ultra deep-sea gas discovery in the southern part of the block as commercial, a step toward developing the find.
The Declaration of Commerciality (DoC) of the Northern area finds in the block were submitted by ONGC in July, 2010. "Since the said DoC was not approved at the Operating Committee (an oversight panel for the block), it could not be evaluated and the operator was asked to submit the Operating Committee-approved DoC," he said.

ONGC bought 90 per cent interest in the block from Cairn Energy India Ltd in 2005. Cairn still holds 10 per cent in the block. Before selling most of its stake and giving away operatorship of the block, Cairn made four discoveries in the area -- Padmavati, Kanakdurga, N-1 and R-1 (Annapurna).

Subsequently, ONGC made six significant discoveries -- E-1, A1, U1, W1, D-1/KT-1 and the first ultra-deepwater discovery UD-1, at a record depth of 2,841 metres.

The block is divided into a Northern Discovery Area (NDA)and Southern Discovery Area (SDA). The NDA comprises discoveries like Padmawati, Kanadurga, D, E, U and A, while the ultra deep-sea UD find lies in the SDA.