Conoco help for ONGC shale 'pilot' in Gujarat

Vol 16, PW 24 (27 Jun 13) Exploration & Production

ONGC is preparing a second shale gas pilot drilling programme after West Bengal, this time in Gujarat.

ONGC has set aside Rs250cr ($42.4m) for four pilot shale wells but first it needs oil ministry approval. “This should come any day now,” says a senior ONGC source.

“The file is doing the rounds of the exploration (Aramane Giridhar) and finance departments in the oil ministry. Approval is imminent.

” When it comes ONGC will tender for a 2000-hp drilling rig and other services: logging, cementing and perforation, casing, tubular, testing and coring. “ConocoPhillips will provide technical and scientific support,” adds ONGC.

ConocoPhillips signed a wide-ranging MoU with ONGC on March 30 last year to explore and develop shale gas/oil acreage within India and bid jointly for shale assets abroad. After the MoU, ConocoPhillips carried out an extensive study of the Cambay, Cauvery, KG and Damodar basins.

Based on these studies, ONGC identified the Cambay basin for its second pilot after West Bengal. Two wells will be drilled in south Gujarat, around 170-km from Ahmedabad, to 3500 metres to 4000 metres TD targeting Eocene age shale formations.

Two shallower wells will be drilled in north Gujarat to 1800 metres. After Cambay, ONGC is planning similar pilot programmes in the Cauvery and KG onland basins.

ONGC believes the Cambay basin holds shale gas resources base of more than 200-tcf. “Cambay shale is thicker than shale rocks in other basins,” we hear.

“In Cambay you have rich organic content from fossilised flora and fauna that converted to hydrocarbons over millions of years.” Note: Unlike its earlier pilot ONGC won’t be hiring a Project Management Consultant for the Cambay shale initiative.

“Everything we will do ourselves,” says ONGC. For the first pilot in West Bengal ONGC hired Schlumberger in August 2010 to oversee drilling of four exploration wells, two each at the Raniganj North and North Karanpura CBM blocks.

Schlumberger estimates the Damodar Valley basin holds 48-tcf of gas-in-place of which around half (24-tcf) is recoverable.