ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) have signed a heads of agreement covering deepwater exploration off the east and west coasts of India. The news bodes well for ONGC, which recently pledged to boost exploration investment by 150% to $4 billion.
The collaboration areas focus on the Krishna Godavari and Cauvery Basins in the eastern offshore and the Kutch-Mumbai region in the western offshore. “There has been a scientific exchange of exploration data in the last few years, which has led to this partnership. Collaboration between ONGC and ExxonMobil will be a strategic fit where ONGC’s knowledge and past experience in these areas will be coupled with ExxonMobil’s global insights,” ONGC said in a statement following the signing ceremony on 17 August 2022.
India’s Petroleum Secretary Shri Pankaj Jain said “this collaboration will boost our confidence in going further ahead in deepwater exploration in the east coast of India where the potential is quite significant.”
ExxonMobil India’s CEO & lead country manager Dr. Monte K Dobson said, “it’s an exciting opportunity to collaborate with ONGC. Great things happen when the right people collaborate. He further added that 25% of the ExxonMobil brain power is currently engaged in evaluating Indian deepwater. ExxonMobil is geared up to take this collaboration to the next level.”
This is good news for ONGC as in May it said it was targeting to boost exploration investments by 1.5 times in the next three years to $4 billion. Significantly, ONGC is heading the South Asian nation’s oil and gas hunt in unexplored areas and is seeking international partners to bring challenging fields to production to make up for the falling output from its ageing fields.