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Narendra K. Verma, ONGC director of exploration

India’s ONGC announced Tuesday that it has started drilling the first exploration well in Palar Basin, located 34 miles from Chennai.

ONGC won the block PR-ONN-2005/1 jointly with Tata Petrodyne, who holds a 20 percent stake. The block covers 695 square miles.

Speaking at the spudding ceremony Narendra K Verma, ONGC director of exploration said that the well reminded him of the iconic wells like Lunej-1, Disangmukh-1, Narsapur-1, and PY-1 which opened up new basins in the country.

“Palar will not be an exception and you are on the threshold of creating history. The sediment type and basinal settings give us this hope,” Verma said.

The Director also promised massive upgrades to hardware including rigs, vessels, and floaters.