GAIL surprise oil discovery at RJ-ONN-2004/1

Vol 16, PW 5 (20 Sep 12) Exploration & Production

A poor cementing job has bizarrely led to an oil discovery at GAIL’s onland block RJ-ONN-2004/1 in Rajasthan.

GAIL plugged and abandoned an exploration well at the 4613-sq km NELP-VI block in February after drilling to 1550 metres TD, believing it was dry. So imagine the surprise when oil began seeping to the surface last month (August).

“We noticed a barrel (170 litres) of crude seep to the surface,” says an incredulous GAIL source. “But the well was cased and cemented before we abandoned it.

Gas pressure perforated the cementing, which was loose and brought oil to the surface.” GAIL, which became an operator for the first time when it won this block, can hardly believe its luck as the oil has an API of 31 degrees.

“We plan to test the well,” adds GAIL. “We will know more details only after testing.

” GAIL tells us driller John Energy has mobilised its 1000-hp rig to the location. Techno Canada, hired by GAIL to test the well, also mobilised crew and equipment to location by September 11.

“We plan to test the well for 35 to 40 days,” says an industry source. “GAIL will begin perforating casing to “flow the well” any day.

” In yet another ironic twist, GAIL has found working at the block is becoming increasingly difficult since the discovery because local farmers are lining up asking for more ‘compensation.’ “This discovery well is on agricultural land,” says GAIL.

“Farmers know it will turn into a goldmine because of the discovery. We’re concerned they may disrupt testing.

” GAIL has drilled four of six exploration wells committed in the four-year Phase-I, which ends in November.