Oil India wants 1400-hp rig for AA-ONN-2002/3

Vol 15, PW 13 (12 Jan 12) Exploration & Production

Kidnapping and threats of violence have not deterred Oil India from a proposed two-well exploration programme in the north-eastern Indian state Assam.

Operator Oil India (30%) wants to begin drilling by October 2012 at its 1460-sq km onshore Assam-Arakan basin block AA-ONN-2002/3, where it partners ONGC (70%). “We will need a 1400-hp capacity rig,” confirms a company source.

“We might float a tender in one month.” Oil India, he adds, expects it could take around two months to drill each well to depths ranging from 2000 metres to 2200 metres and has identified the first well location at Maibong, a hillside tourist town on the banks of the Mahur River.

Oil India readily admits the region is “difficult” to work in. “For the sake of exploration we must carry on,” we learn.

Contractors are advised to pay close attention to the sorry experience of Mumbai-based IOT Infrastructure & Energy Services. IOT shot 100-lkm of 2D at this block during Phase-I, followed by another 100-lkm 2D in Phase-II, and is expected to complete shooting 50-lkm 2D during Phase-III by January 15.

But an IOT source says his company has faced trouble from armed separatist groups in the region like the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, United Liberation Front of Asom and the United Liberation Front of Barak Valley. In November three IOT crew – a drilling supervisor, a compressor operator, and a rig operator – were abducted and held captive for two weeks before the army and local police rescued them.

“We must now spend on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ activities in the area like a ‘water treatment plant’,” says IOT. “This is to thank the public for their support in pressurising ‘activist groups’.

” IOT has faced three abduction cases at the block since 2008. Luckily, its employees were returned unharmed each time.