Oil India and GeoGlobal win PEL for block near Ravva

Vol 11, PW 21 (06 Mar 08) Exploration & Production

Oil India (90%) is gearing up to begin exploring NELP-VI onshore KG Basin block KG-ONN-2004/1, the second most fiercely contested onland block in the round, where it partners GeoGlobal Resources of Canada (10%).

On February 22, authorities in Andhra Pradesh finally issued a Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) for 511-sq km of the 548-sq km block - almost a year after the PSC was signed with the oil ministry in Delhi on March 2 last year. “The remaining 37-sq km has spilled over to Yanam in Pondicherry state,â€‌ says a source.

“A PEL for this portion is expected this month (March) itself.â€‌ Part of KG-ONN-2004/1 lies within the protected Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, raising fears that AP authorities would issue a â€کconditional’ PEL only, hampering exploration.

These fears were misplaced and the PEL when it came was â€کunconditional’. “On paper this is a forest,â€‌ adds a source.

“But it is actually open land. Local people have cut down most of the trees.

â€‌ Still, Oil India is going ahead with a planned public hearing to hear objections, if any, from local people before starting work. “The sanctuary portion of the block is very small, only 167-sq km,â€‌ adds a source.

“It is not of interest to us right now.â€‌ Underway are Environment Impact and Rapid Risk Assessment studies at KG-ONN-2004/1, which Oil India expects to complete by the end of this month (March).

After this, it wants to shoot around 50-lkm “experimental 2Dâ€‌ before shooting 3D. Oil India is also reprocessing 546-lkm old block data.

“When results of this reprocessing become available,â€‌ we hear, “we’ll take a call on how much experimental 2D lines should be shot.â€‌ Oil India and GGR won KG-ONN-2004/1 after promising an aggressive four-year Phase-I work programme of 12 exploration wells to depths between 2000 and 5000 metres and a blanket 3D survey.

GeoGlobal has long wanted to increase its stake at KG-ONN-2004/1 and on September 14, 2006, both companies signed an agreement that GGR’s stake would increase to 25% once the PEL is awarded.