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India's ONGC finds deep-water gas

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NEW DELHI, India -- India's biggest company, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), says it has struck natural gas in deep water in the Bay of Bengal.

The find is in an exploration block in the Krishna-Godavari basin, about 38 kilometers (24 miles) off the coast.

ONGC said its deep-sea rig Sagar Vijay found the large gas-bearing structure in an area known as G4-AB, near a gas-bearing prospect operated by Reliance Industries.

The find is at a depth of 1,650 to 2,130 meters (5,413 to 6,988 feet), it said.

ONGC said test results showed a flow rate of 14.42 million cubic feet a day from the well, the first it has drilled in the area.

Shares in ONGC, which is held 84 percent by the Indian government, are down 1.5 percent to 734 rupees in Monday trade.

In November ONGC reported a record net profit for the 2002-03 year of 105.3 billion rupees (about $21.5 billion).

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