Agartala: The state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has undertaken a Rs 5,050 crore ambitious plan to explore for more gas in northeastern state of Tripura, a top official said here on Saturday.

“ONGC would invest Rs 5,050 crore by 2020 to explore more gas in Tripura. ONGC board has approved this determined plan,” ONGC Executive Director SC Soni told IANS over phone.

“Under this plan, new wells would be drilled and additional surface facilities would be created to increase gas production from the present 4.1 million standard cubic metres per day (MSCMD) to at least 5.1 MSCMD from Tripura gas fields,” he said.

Soni, also the asset manager of ONGC Tripura, said that so far eleven gas fields were discovered by the corporation in the bordering state and seven of the fields were on production.

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Under the investment campaign to produce and supply of 5.1 MSCMD to various consumers, including production of electricity, for another 15 to 20 years, at least 153 wells were to be drilled, the official said.

“To enhance the gas production, processing and improve the supply capabilities, the GCS (Gas Collection Centre) in Sonamura, Gojalia and Konaban would be upgraded and around 900 km gas pipelines would be laid.”

The executive director said that the ONGC Tripura asset was carrying out its drilling activities with three owned rigs under operation and well servicing operations through two work-over rigs. Additional four to five rigs would be hired to intensify the exploration activities.

Tripura gas fields lie in logistically and environmentally challenged area, where a good number of drill sites, facility and pipeline locations are in forest lands which needs special efforts for forest clearance and timely construction of work, he said.

ONGC has so far drilled around 200 wells in Tripura and more than 50 percent wells are gas-bearing.

ONGC has also commissioned its first mega commercial power project in southern Tripura by floating a company ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC).

The Rs 10,000 crore 726 MW capacity gas-based thermal power project (using both water and natural gas) at Palatana, 60 km from here, was ONGC’s first commercial power project in India.

ONGC, in association with Rajasthan based Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Limited and the Tripura government, would also set up a Rs 5,000 crore fertiliser plant in northern Tripura.

“The process is on to set up the fertiliser plant,” said another ONGC official.