Cairn exploration in Rajasthan grinds to a halt

Vol 19, PW 11 (11 Feb 16) Exploration & Production

These are harsh economic times for service contractors so we hate to be the bearer of even more bad news.

Cairn India is tightening its belt and cutting back on exploration activity even at its producing RJ-ON-90/1 block in Rajasthan. Kazakhstan-based seismic contractor Azimut Energy Services is just one casualty.

Azimut is demobilising crew and equipment from the block after Cairn told it to cut short its 3D acquisition job. “Azimut began demobilising crew last month (January)," reports a source.

"By mid-February they should complete demobilisation." Cairn awarded a $53m contract to Azimut in July 2013 to shoot 1500-sq km 3D over unexplored parts of the 3111-sq km block.

Sometime last year Cairn asked Azimut to shoot an additional 800-sq km. But in December Cairn issued a notice terminating the job before completion.

“We’ve shot over 1300-sq km (of the 1500-sq km contract),” confirms Cairn. “Data is being processed and interpreted.

Once that’s done we’ll decide whether to drill exploration wells.” Cairn adds the decision to terminate the seismic job early was taken because of low oil prices.

"We were ready to shoot the additional 800-sq km 3D despite the challenges," adds a source close to Azimut. "But Cairn decided not to go ahead.

" However he admits land acquisition for the job was difficult and Azimut faced problems with repeated equipment theft.