One year into its production, Cairn India’s Mangala field, India’s largest onshore one, is estimated to have saved nearly a billion dollars (Rs 5,000 crore) in foreign exchange.
According to a Goldman Sachs report, the Mangala production is likely to bring down India’s oil import bill by $6.8 billion at peak production of 175,000 barrels, likely to be achieved by 2011-12. The peak production will cut India’s crude import dependence by 20 per cent at present consumption level. While the current saving in foreign exchange is just over one per cent of India’s annual crude oil import bill of $79.5 billion (2009-10), future savings will be higher.
The company is targeting to expand peak production from the field in Barmer district of Rajasthan to 240,000 barrels (a barrel is 157.5 litres) a day from 125,000 barrels per day now. According to Cairn India’s website, the block is estimated to hold reserves of 6.5 billion barrels of energy equivalent.
Cairn India started production from Barmer on August 29, 2009. Cairn India is the operator of the Rajasthan block, with a 70 per cent participating interest. Its joint venture partner, the government’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, has a 30 per cent participating interest. In the past year, the Rajasthan field contributed 12.3 million barrels of crude oil, processed in various refineries in the country.
India’s crude oil import was 159.25 million tonnes in 2009-10, according to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. Crude oil production, stagnating at 600,000-650,000 barrels per day in recent years, has jumped to 775,000 barrels due to production from Rajasthan.
Mangala was the largest oil discovery (in 2004) in India since 1985. Discoveries followed at the Bhagyam and Aishwarya fields, also in Barmer.
To process the output and produce oil and associated gas, Cairn is setting up the Mangala Processing Terminal (MPT). MPT will have four crude oil processing trains, together designed to handle a total capacity of 205,000 barrels of oil per day.