No DSF bonanza expected for hungry contractors

Vol 20, PW 11 (23 Feb 17) People & Policy

You're wrong if you think service providers and drillers will get a lot of business after the Discovered Small Fields round.

A DGH source admits only a few wells are committed under the 31 contract areas across 44 fields for which winning bids were announced on February 15. "I can't tell you an exact number of wells committed at each block," he says.

"But about 50 wells have been committed in total. A Minimum Work Programme wasn't mandatory." Take the only foreign winner, Dubai-based but Indian-owned South Asia Consultancy, which didn't commit a single new well at the South Patan block in Gujarat, which attracted 19 bids.

Instead South Asia plans to workover two old wells and bring them on stream. "It's easy to locate an old discovery well at any of the 28 onland fields," explains a source.

"All a winner has to do is re-enter old wells to begin producing." But what about the 16 offshore fields? "Offshore wells are killed before abandonment," we hear. "How will winners locate old wells drilled by ONGC at these fields?" Of course one possible answer is that companies are simply sitting on the blocks, hoping to sell them on later.

IndianOil has not committed wells at the KD field in the Kutch offshore and the same is true for billionaire Dilip Shanghvi's Sun Petrochemicals at the B-37 field off Mumbai.