After operating the Panna-Mukta oil and gas fields for 25 years, Shell and Reliance Industries (RIL) will hand over the fields to state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) this Saturday. RIL and Shell, through its subsdiary BG Exploration & Production India (BGEPIL), hold 30 per cent each in Panna, Mukta, and Tapti joint venture (JV), while the remaining 40 per cent is owned by ONGC, the government nominee. “The Panna-Mukta and Tapti (PMT) JV partners will be handing over the Panna-Mukta oil and gas fields back to the government’s nominee, ONGC, on December 21,” Shell and RIL said in a statement on Friday. The production from Tapti field had stopped in early 2016, while the output from other fields was dipping constantly. The Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) for the PMT fields, which were executed by the JV with the Centre in 1994, will expire on December 21. The Tapti process platform facilities were handed over to ONGC in 2016. Decommissioning and site restoration of residual Tapti facilities, including five unmanned platforms and in-field pipelines, are being carried out by the JV under India’s first offshore decommissioning and site restoration project.
The Tapti decommissioning and other commercial activities would continue in BGEPIL even after Panna-Mukta handover. Trivikram Arun, managing director of BGEPIL, said: “The JV is a great example of a successful partnership between ONGC, RIL and an International Oil Company (Shell). Shell is proud to have been part of this journey and privileged to have partnered with Reliance, ONGC, and the Centre. Our teams have worked relentlessly to ensure a safe handover of the producing fields from the JV to ONGC at the end of the term.” The PMT fields were the first in India to be operated under a joint operatorship model. The Panna-Mukta fields, off the Mumbai coast, have produced 211 million barrels (mmbbls) of oil and 1.25 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas since December 1994. In 2019, the average monthly production from the fields was 10,000 barrels (bbls/day) of crude oil and 140 million metric standard cubic feet (mmscf/day) of natural gas. B Ganguly, president of exploration and production at RIL, said: “At their peak, Panna-Mukta has contributed to nearly 6 per cent of India’s oil production and almost 7 per cent of India’s gas production in 2007-08. RIL has been a part of this journey and contributed, by providing energy, to the growth and development of India’s oil and gas sector.”