India, Kazakhstan launch first drilling at Satpayev oil block of OVL
India and Kazakhstan launched the first exploratory drilling at Satpayev oil block owned by India’s ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and Kazakhstan company KazMunaiGaz.
It was jointly launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kazakhstan premier Karim Massimov in Astana, Kazakh capital.
- Satpayev oil block is an offshore field located in the Northern Caspian Sea. It has potential reserves estimated at 1.8 billion barrels crude oil and natural gas.
- In 2011, OVL had acquired 25 per cent stake in this block and has committed to invest around 400 million dollar to develop it.
- OVL is also seeking to capture the potential of this oil block by drilling out peak output of 2 lakh 87 thousand barrels per day.
- With this launch, India has made a significant step to achieve energy security especially in hydrocarbon needs in line with Make in India programme.
- This move also can be seen as India’s strategy to counter the strategic foothold gain of China in the Central Asian region.
- The hydrocarbons from this region can be brought first to Iran via the Caspian Sea and transported to India through a pipeline or ships.
- The opening of the Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan railway link will also play important role in transportation of these hydrocarbon resources to India.
However, India is yet to conduct feasibility study on importing crude oil and gas from Kazakhstan either through a pipeline or ships.
Thus it can be said that India’s International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) along with development of Chabahar Port (Iran) will play strategic role to access these resources for its energy security, similar to China move to develop Gwadar port (Pakistan).