Two new deepwater locations identified on east coast

Vol 4, PW 5 (12 Apr 00) Exploration & Production

India's upstream explorer ONGC is clearly unfazed by its disappointing experience in the Kerala Konkan basin.

This report learns that the corporation plans to continue its deepwater exploration programme and has identified two new drilling locations on the east coast of India. Industry circles tell Petrowatch that the first location is known simply as 'Mahanadi Mouth', or a site at the mouth of the Mahanadi delta, south of the Cairn Energy operated Ravva oilfield in the Krishna Godavari.

The second location is further north and sits 'on the same line' as the Ravva oilfield. This location is near the village of Machlipatman offshore Andhra Pradesh at the mouth of the river Krishna.

Water depths here are believed to be around 800metres. Before the deepwater drillship Sagar Vijay sets sail, ONGC must first complete testing of its Kerala Konkan well.

Petrowatch learns this will be completed by 20th April. Then, after two-weeks in dry-dock at the Cochin Shipyard, Sagar Vijay will set sail for 'Mahanadi Mouth'.

A source explains that monsoon rains hit the east coast of India in September, and ONGC will be keen to avoid operating in harsh weather conditions, particularly at Machlipatnam, described this as a, "cyclone-prone area with weather conditions akin to those in the Bay of Bengal." Others suggest it would be logical for Sagar Vijay to return to the Kerala Konkan ahead of the September rains, but adds cryptically: "There's a right way of doing things; there's a wrong way of doing things; and there's ONGC's way of doing things!"