Vol 3, PW 1 (03 Feb 99) News in Brief

ONGC has asked the Ocean Drilling Programme - an international US-based venture - to drill six wells in the Bay of Bengal.

The aim: to come up with an estimate of free gas below proven gas hydrate bearing structures. Drilling work is expected to begin in the summer.

The exact location of drilling is unclear but the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) claims the existence of 2.4 trillion cubic metres ("Not cubic feet, cubic metres!" insists the DGH) of free gas below gas hydrate structures in the Andaman Islands, based on data from 3D seismic shoots. The DGH claims saturation levels of 25-30% and says it has been approached by three companies with the technology to undertake casing below the gas hydrates to evacuate the gas.

The concession can not be auctioned as it has security implications because of its proximity to Bangladesh.