NTPC learning E&P the hard way

Vol 16, PW 15 (21 Feb 13) Exploration & Production

NTPC is discovering the hard way how being an upstream operator in bureaucratic India is not easy.

Best known as the country’s biggest state-owned electricity generation company, NTPC was caught out when its Terms of Reference (TOR) from the environment ministry for a drilling campaign in Gujarat lapsed, resulting in an unnecessary nine month delay. Luckily the re-validated TOR arrived from the environment ministry last month (January) allowing work to proceed.

NTPC is planning a Rs70cr ($12.98m) seven well drilling campaign at 165-sq km onshore Cambay Basin ‘S’ block CB-ONN-2009/5 in north Gujarat. Eight tentative drilling locations have been identified from primary seismic analysis of this NELP-VIII block, sprawling across the Detroj, Mandal and Viramgam areas of Ahmedabad and the Kadi area of Mehsana district.

NTPC's eight locations are at Sadra, Sangpara, Detroj, Sadatpura, Dekavada, Ughoroj, Odhav and Dadhana villages where NTPC plans to drill each well upto 2000 metres TD. Expect a tender in the months ahead for a 750-hp drilling rig.

Also expected are tenders for services like wire-logging, mud-logging, drilling fluids, cementing, casing, directional drilling, well-control and Drill Stem Testing. By now NTPC should have completed two mandatory public hearings before its two-year TOR ran out on December 15, 2012.

But it’s completed only one: in Ahmedabad on September 14, 2012. NTPC faced a major headache convincing environment ministry officials to revive the lapsed TOR.

"Experience is the best teacher,” we hear. “Even if you are NTPC you cannot work without a valid TOR.

” Another public hearing is scheduled on March 19, at Sadra village.

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