Pacific Sword shoots 3D at ONGC/BG block

Vol 13, PW 19 (11 Mar 10) Exploration & Production

CGGVeritas-owned Pacific Sword (left) has begun shooting 420-sq km 3D at ONGC’s 1151-sq km NELP-VI KG basin offshore block KG-OSN-2004/1 to continue a job partly awarded to WesternGeco in 2008.

ONGC hired Pacific Sword this January after months of negotiations which began sometime last August. “ONGC and CGGVeritas completed negotiations last December,â€‌ we hear.

“The contract was signed early January and the boat was mobilised in February.â€‌ Pacific Sword could take up to two months to finish this job, he adds.

“It could also be completed before end-March,â€‌ we hear. CGGVeritas, it seems, is already looking for jobs for Pacific Sword once she finishes this ONGC assignment.

In April 2008, Schlumberger subsidiary WesternGeco shot around 850-sq km 3D at this block, where ONGC (55% and operator) partners British Gas (45%). But Geco couldn’t finish 420-sq km as it was in shallower waters.

Water depths at this block range between five metres and 400 metres. All 3D shot by CGGVeritas will be processed and interpreted by an in-house ONGC team and integrated with existing 3D ahead of drilling.

Consortium sources tell us ONGC and BG want to begin exploratory drilling this year itself and that several potential locations are under consideration but nothing is firmed up. Once it decides on the exact drilling locations, ONGC may use any of its jack-ups already on hire to drill the first three exploration wells in shallow water depths of 45 to 50 metres.

ONGC needs to finalise its drilling plans quickly, as it has committed seven wells committed in the four-year exploration Phase-I period, which ends on May 24, 2011. Some are sceptical about whether ONGC is efficient enough to finalise the locations so quickly.

“ONGC took almost a year to award this latest seismic contract,â€‌ say these sources. “Don’t expect it to begin drilling anytime soon.