Mercator plans eight wells at Gujarat block

Vol 16, PW 13 (24 Jan 13) Exploration & Production

Mumbai-based Mercator Petroleum plans to spend an impressive Rs80cr ($14.7m) on an eight-well drilling programme at its 48-sq km onland NELP-VII Cambay block CB-ONN-2005/3 in Gujarat.

Mercator will need two rigs and is likely to issue tenders by July for a 1000-hp rig to drill two wells to up to 2700 metres TD; and a 1500-hp rig to drill six wells to up to 4875 metres TD. “We plan to begin drilling after the monsoon rains (post-September),” says Mercator.

“All civil work will be finished by October and we hope to spud the first well in November. Drilling each well should take 45 days.

” Mercator proposed eight drilling locations at its last Management Committee meeting in September 2012: Two at Banti village, two at Madrisana, one at Ghelana, two at Nathpura and one at Nani Ranti. Under consideration is directional drilling from a single location, targeting several wells simultaneously, to improve ‘sweep efficiency.

’ Mercator is confident it can secure environmental clearance for its proposed drilling programme by March. “We sent in our Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report to the environment ministry in July last year,” adds Mercator.

“But the ministry’s expert appraisal panel held no meetings for six months, delaying clearance.” He adds the environment ministry should review Mercator’s application at the next meeting of the expert appraisal panel on February 1.

But even if it gets environmental clearance by March, Mercator believes it will take another three months to acquire land for drilling.