In a move that will bolster efforts to meet India's energy needs, Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan dedicated the Bengal Basin of oil and gas reserves to the nation on Sunday.

Located in Asokenagar in West Bengal's North 24 Paragans district, this is the eighth producing basin of India, and the first of its kind in the Gangetic belt.

Pradhan commenced the formal production of oil from the well Asokenagar-1 by switching on the Sucker Rod Pump (SRP) amidst a select gathering of senior officials, following Covid protocols.

The minister also flagged off seismic data acquisition operation in Block WB-ONN-2005/4 for further appraisal and location of oil and gas resources at Asokenagar, about 50 km from state capital Kolkata, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said in a statement.

Describing it as a "red-letter day," the Union Petroleum Minister congratulated the people of West Bengal and the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) for the achievement.

I congratulate the people of Bengal on this red-letter day. Today’s development will open up new possibilities for their growth and development. I also compliment @ONGC_ for their relentless pursuit in creating a place of pride for Bengal in the hydrocarbon map of India.

— Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) December 20, 2020

He visited the geophysical party camp and witnessed the seismic data collection being done for appraisal program of Asokenagar block.

Dedicating the oil well to the nation, he said it would add to the commitment towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call for reducing oil import dependence. Congratulating ONGC, the minister said that with this discovery, around seven decades of relentless endeavours by scientists and engineers of India have borne fruits, giving a new hope for robust development of West Bengal.

"Bengal Basin finally looks set to find a place on the oil & gas map of the world," he was quoted saying by the official statement.

According to the ministry, ONGC took a major step by commencing oil production from the well in the Bengal Basin. The Asoknagar-1 well was completed as an oil producer under the Early-Monetization Plan issued by the government of India.
The first hydrocarbon consignment produced during testing of the Asokenagar-1 well was sent to the Indian Oil Corporation Limited’s Haldia Oil Refinery on November 5.

The minister said that the government is committed to fully support the ONGC as it strives to bring more oil and gas from the subsurface of West Bengal. This will bring a new phase of prosperity for the state and its people along-with local employment.

ONGC has discovered and put to production seven out of the eight producing basins of India, covering 83 percent of established oil & gas reserves. It is India’s largest oil and gas producer contributing 72 percent of the country’s hydrocarbon production.