New Delhi: The government will next week launch India's maiden National Data Repository (NDR) that will assimilate, preserve and upkeep country's vast sedimentary data for future use in oil and gas exploration and production.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will on June 28 launch the NDR, which will aid India to switch over to an open acreage licensing regime where companies can choose areas they want to explore.
At present, the government selects and demarcates areas it feels can be offered for bidding in an exploration licensing round. Under the open acreage licensing (OAL), companies can visit NDR and look at vast seismic data of currently producing fields and explored areas as also those of unexplored areas, official sources said.
From the areas that are not under any licensee, they can then carve out an area suitable to them and evince interest in doing exploration and production. Once an area is selected, the government will put it up for bidding and any firm offering the maximum share of oil or gas produced from the area would be awarded the block.
Sources said already a vast amount of data has been populated - over 9.3 lakh line kilometres of 2D seismic, 2.8 lakh square km of 3D seismic and 1,717 well data. The NDR will be wholly funded by the government of India and housed with the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).
It will have the ability to store data online, near line and offline, and provide independent web-based access. The DGH, they said, has already begun sale of geophysical data of speculative surveys in east and west coast of India in 2005 and 2008.
The mammoth volume of data collected by E&P companies and other agencies over more than six decades of activities was hitherto lying scattered at different work centres of ONGC, Oil India and DGH or held by the operating companies.
This necessitated an establishment of a system at national level that could assimilate, preserve and upkeep the vast amount of data which could be organised and regulated for use in future exploration and development, besides use by R&D and other educational Institutes. With this objective, the government initiated the establishment of the NDR.
The NDR is a government sponsored project with state-of- the-art facilities and infrastructure to create E&P data bank for preservation, upkeep and dissemination of data so as to enable its systematic use for future exploration and development.
The DGH being the agency of the central government will be responsible for creation, setting up and operation of the NDR. Sources said the OAL will be beginning of a new era in oil and gas exploration and production.
Till now, the government has awarded 254 exploration blocks under nine rounds of bidding between 2000 and 2012. Prior to that, 29 discovered fields were awarded to private and foreign companies.
Of the 254 blocks awarded under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) between 2000 and 2012, 156 have already been relinquished due to poor prospectivity.