Mercator plans five-well campaign in Gujarat

Vol 15, PW 22 (17 May 12) Exploration & Production

Mercator Petroleum is hoping everything will be in place for it to launch a tender for a 1500-hp onland rig for its NELP-VII Cambay block CB-ONN-2005/9 by September this year.

But Kapil Garg-promoted Oilmax, which manages the 132-sq km onshore ‘S’ type block in Gujarat on behalf of Mumbai-based Mercator, awaits environmental and other clearances for a five-well exploration campaign scheduled to start in March 2013. Oilmax executives made a presentation at the environment ministry in Delhi on May 11 to reveal the results of their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study.

Mercator and Oilmax expect environment ministry clearances by end-July. “After that Mercator will apply for Gujarat Pollution Control Board clearances,” says a source.

He adds Mercator will simultaneously approach Nagpur-based Controller of Explosives for permission to store diesel fuel for the rig at drilling locations. All necessary clearances are likely to be in place by October.

In-house meanwhile Oilmax is about to complete interpretation of 132-sq km 3D shot by Hyderabad-based Alpha Geo last year and reckons it will have identified locations for at least five of the eight wells committed in Phase-I by mid-May. “Expect a tender to drill the five wells by September or October at the latest,” we hear.

“The remaining three will be drilled later.” Mercator will also issue tenders for long-lead equipment like tubulars and casings as well as logging or cementing services.

Mercator, which operates CB-ONN-2005/9 with a 100% stake, wants to drill each exploration well to more than 3000 metres TD, targeting Olpad, Kalol, Cambay and Shale formations. In the four year Phase-I, which began in June 2010, it has also committed to shoot 700-lkm 2D and 170-sq km 3D.