Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) applied to the West Bengal government for necessary approval for drilling two exploratory wells in Ladhi and Dangi villages near Chakaliya in Uttar Dinajpur district.
ONGC secured the area in Uttar Dinajpur, which falls under Block PA-ONN-2005/1 of the Purnea basin, during the seventh round of auction under the New Exploration Licensing Policy, or Nelp VII, in 2008.
The presence of hydrocarbons would be established through this exploratory drilling by seismic survey and interpretation of data.
In December 2008, the production sharing contract was signed while the exploration licence was granted a year later. The block covers an area of 1,069 square km.
On behalf of ONGC, Bharat Heavy Electrical’s (BHEL) Pollution Control Research Institute at Haridwar has already completed the environment impact assessment for this onshore block. The environmental approval for exploration would be given following a public hearing of the project to be held in April.
The drilling site is surrounded by agricultural field and ONGC has assured the state government that the well head facilities would be located in such a manner avoiding settlements.
According to the petroleum ministry, gas discovery in Salbanhat, Bangladesh, close to the Indo-Bangladesh border, up to which the Purnea block extends suggests that the equivalent sediments would be prospective in this part also.