Still no date for ONGC third well in Palk Strait block

Vol 12, PW 17 (29 Jan 09) Exploration & Production

Disgruntled Norwegian investors are calling on ONGC to use proprietary seismic technology from Oslo-based Rocksource in selecting a drilling location for the third and final Phase-I commitment well at deepwater exploration block CY-DWN-2001/1, where Rocksource holds 10%.

“If ONGC uses this technology there is a 60% chance they will find hydrocarbons,â€‌ an investor in Oslo-listed Rocksource tells PETROWATCH from Norway. “But it all depends if the other partners in the consortium (Oil India, Petrobras and ONGC) listen to Rocksource.

â€‌ Huge disappointment surfaced last year when ONGC drilled two dry holes at the block, located in the Palk Strait separating India and Sri Lanka. “We missed the target by a whisker,â€‌ confides a senior ONGC source, referring to the first (dry) well in September, “possibly by just 500 metres!â€‌ Adds an investor in Oslo: “After analysis (by Rocksource) it was discovered that the well was drilled on the wrong side of the anomaly.

â€‌ On September 31, Rocksource confirmed that, “the (first) well was drilled on a location that did not test the CSEM anomalyâ€‌ and that “the initial CSEM prospectivity of the block remains intact.â€‌ So what happened Did ONGC drill off the mark “There are still lots of unanswered questions,â€‌ adds ONGC.

“Rocksource was given the well data and they said we missed by a small margin, but we still don’t know how this happened.â€‌ Confusion persists if Rocksource advised ONGC about the first well drilling location.

ONGC says Rocksource â€کconfirmed’ the first location; Rocksource says it didn’t. Unlike the first location, identified using seabed logging data from sister Norwegian seismic acquisition company EMGS, the second well at the block drilled in October was selected using conventional 3D, with equally disappointing results.

Of wider interest is whether drillship Discoverer Seven Seas will return to CY-DWN-2001/1 to drill the third and final well after it completes its current well further up the coast in mid-March. Even if it does, it remains unclear if ONGC will use Rocksource’s proprietary technology to select the third drilling location.