Cairn pays for Rajasthan exploration costs

Vol 16, PW 15 (21 Feb 13) News in Brief

ONGC has won a major victory after partner Cairn India agreed to bear the entire $600m cost of a future Rajasthan exploration programme.

Cairn agreed to pay exploration costs at the last Management Committee meeting for 3111-sq km onland block RJ-ON-90/1 on February 14. “The MC meeting lasted only 15 minutes," reports a consortium source.

"It began at 3.30pm and ended at 3.45pm.” ONGC (30%) has agreed to share development costs for new discoveries, and Cairn (70%) can recover exploration costs if a discovery is commercially exploitable.

Cairn is aiming to kick off a three exploration well drilling programme by March 31. It has identified five locations: Raag-S-B; Saraswati HW Thumbli-A; Tukaram-C; Bhagyam BH-B; and Shakti NE-C.

ONGC will approve only if the oil ministry clarifies its stance on exploration in a production area. Block RJ-ON-90/1 is producing 175,000 b/d of oil, likely to rise to 215,000 b/d by March 31, 2014.