GSPC accuses Oilex of botching Cambay 76-H well

Vol 16, PW 7 (18 Oct 12) Exploration & Production

Australian explorer Oilex (45%) has dismissed allegations it “messed up” well 76-H at the 161-sq km onland Cambay block in Gujarat, where it partners GSPC (55%), through incompetence.

“The well was suspended in May because of problems with the completion,” says Oilex production manager Mike Maloney. “We are contemplating the way forward.

There is no evidence of inferior quality products being used to complete the well. We overran the budget, but only by 10%.

” Yet GSPC alleges Oilex has spent $35m on 76-H, the most spent on an onland well in India in recent times, something Maloney strongly denies. Incensed GSPC, adds our source, is reluctant to re-enter the well without testing to determine reasons for the damage.

“If Oilex wants it can re-enter the well on its own,” he says. “GSPC will not contribute any more money without testing.

” Well 76-H, spud in June 2011, was completed to a measured depth of 2740 metres on July 31, 2011. Oilex ‘frakked’ eight zones from 2106 metres to 2740 metres, using 135 tonnes of sand for each zone, which GSPC believes was excessive.

Trouble began when Oilex hired a Coil Tubing Unit (CTU) from Baker Hughes subsidiary BJ Services to carry out milling operations to clean the well. “BJ’s 1-1/4 inch diameter CTU was ineffective as the drill pipe diameter was 4.5-inches,” says a source.

Worse, the CTU engine broke down apparently due to adulterated diesel, and the ‘frakked’ formation collapsed, trapping the CTU. Oilex carried out a fishing operation between July and August this year.

It failed initially to extract the CTU by pumping nitrogen and potassium chloride into the well at 5000 to 8000-psi pressure. When the drill string snapped thrice, GSPC suspected sub-standard drill pipes.