Cairn prepares to step up Rajasthan exploration

Vol 15, PW 23 (31 May 12) People & Policy

Very soon we can expect the oil ministry to approve Cairn India's plan to resume exploration at its oil producing Rajasthan onland block RJ-ON-90/1.

Cairn believes the block could produce up to 300,000 b/d after additional exploration and development. But the seven-year exploration phase ended on November 6, 2007.

A team headed by KV Rajan of Cairn’s corporate advisory board met oil ministry joint secretary Aramane Giridhar on May 17, seeking approval to resume exploration. Weeks before on April 24, Cairn managing director Rahul Dhir wrote to oil secretary Girish Chatuvedi, stressing the case for a resumption of exploration.

“There is high exploration potential at RJ-ON-90/1,” said Dhir. “ONGC and Cairn agree on a ‘risked prospective resource’ of 63m tonnes and a ‘discovered undeveloped resource’ of 20m tonnes.

” Additional exploration work, added Dhir, could raise production to 15.3m t/y of oil (300,000 b/d) by 2015. Cairn also plans to apply Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques to extend the production ‘plateau’.

“It’s a prospective block; the operator is confident production can be doubled,” adds a ministry source. “If we don’t let Cairn explore further we will have to in any case offer the block to another company in a future licensing round after 2020 (when the PSC ends).

” Cairn also plans to continue appraisal and pre-development activities at 15 of 25 notified oil discoveries at the Mangala, Bhagyam and Aishwariya fields (MBA) where more than 150 wells have been drilled. Mangala is producing 125,000 b/d, while Bhagyam is producing 40,000 b/d; Aishwariya produces 10,000 b/d.

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