Reliance delays spud date at CB-ON/1 to early June

Vol 11, PW 23 (03 Apr 08) Exploration & Production

Anyone watching developments at pre-NELP exploration block CB-ON/1 in Gujarat will have to wait another two months for activity.

PETROWATCH learns operator Reliance has put back the spud date of its first exploration well at this highly prospective block, located â€کon trend’ with Cairn’s discoveries in Rajasthan to the north and producing ONGC fields in the Cambay Basin to the south, until early June. Delay in securing a vessel to ship the newly built 1500-hp rig owned by Indian drilling contractor John Energy from Houston to Mumbai is partly to blame for Reliance abandoning its earlier tentative spud date of March 31.

“The rig left Houston on March 2,â€‌ reveals a source. “It’s tentatively expected to reach India on April 24.

â€‌ Add another month for customs clearance, commissioning and safety inspections before the rig is ready. Reliance’s Phase-I work programme commits it to one well only but such is the company’s bullishness about the prospectivity of this block that it later increased the number of planned â€کfirm’ wells to three, and has now secured joint venture approval to increase this to four â€کfirm’ wells.

“If this block were ever to feature in a NELP round it would attract very heavy bids,â€‌ adds a source. “Original plans were to drill three â€کfirm’ wells and three â€کcontingent’ wells but one of the â€کcontingent’ wells has now been moved over to the â€کfirm’ category.

â€‌ Reliance has likewise exceeded its seismic commitment at CB-ON/1, shooting 1500-lkm 2D when it was required to shoot 600-lkm only. All four wells in the 4000-sq km block will target Kalol and Olpad formations in Tertiary or Cenozoic age rocks.

Reliance, with 40%, farmed in to CB-ON/1 in July 2004, one of a raft of assets held by former operator Tullow Oil of Ireland, and the only one worth keeping. Tullow continues to hold 50% in CB-ON/1, alongside US-based Okland Oil, which retains a 10% â€کcarried’ interest, but rarely sets foot in India.

As a pre-NELP block, the original licensee ONGC has the right to â€کback-in’ 30% on any discovery.