BG and Japanese 'farm-in' interest at ONGC blocks

Vol 15, PW 26 (12 Jul 12) Exploration & Production

BG might not want to leave India after all, if reports that it may buy a stake at ONGC deepwater NELP-I gas discovery block KG-DWN-98/2 are anything to go by.

BG executives viewed block data 10 days ago but the company has yet to decide how to proceed, according to a source. Shell and ExxonMobil, he adds, told ONGC last week they aren’t interested.

ONGC needs a foreign partner because it has no experience operating in deep waters and it needs to validate its own geological and geophysical findings. Last month (June) the oil ministry offered ONGC a two-year appraisal period at this and other deepwater blocks, despite DGH opposition, greatly increasing the chance of finding a foreign partner.

But will ONGC find a partner in time for a three appraisal well programme ONGC plans to begin drilling at KG-DWN-98/2 in water depths of up to 2000 metres, using either DD KG-1 or Platinum Explorer. Each well will be drilled to 4000 metres TD in a total 300-day drilling programme beginning October.

Another ONGC asset on the table is NELP-VI deepwater block KG-DWN-2004/6 where Tokyo-based Inpex is interested in a stake of up to 25%. ONGC wants Inpex to pay a proportional share of past costs before farming-in and if Inpex agrees it will mark only the second Japanese investment into the Indian E&P sector after Marubeni-owned Ravva Oil in the Cairn India-operated Ravva oil and gasfield.

ONGC plans to spud its sole Phase-I committed well at KG-DWN-2004/6 in October in water depths of 2900 metres, using Platinum Explorer, to TD of at least 5700 metres. ONGC initially identified six drilling locations and shortlisted three before the Management Committee chose the final location.

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