Azimut faces farmer fury on Cairn seismic shoot

Vol 17, PW 12 (30 Jan 14) Exploration & Production

Cairn India is having a rough ride with local communities.

Angry farmers are holding up work not only on its evacuation pipeline to the sea in Gujarat, but also its seismic operations in Rajasthan. Kazakhstan-based contractor Azimut Energy, hired by Cairn last July to shoot 1500-sq km 3D over unexplored areas of the 3111-sq km block RJ-ON-90/1, is forced to work at a snail's pace because of exorbitant demands by local farmers.

Azimut began shooting 3D on November 19 last year and must carry out 272,000 shots over two years to complete the assignment. Any delay will hit Cairn hard, slowing down the identification of new exploration leads and the pinpointing of 300 development wells which Cairn plans to drill in 2015-16.

“Work at the site is progressing very slowly,” admits a seismic source. “Azimut has carried out around 200 seismic shots/day only compared to the 500/day we'd expect.

" So far Azimut has managed 15,000 shots. By contrast Polish contractor Geofizyka Torun recorded over 700 shots/day when it shot 3D in Rajasthan for Oil India.

Farmers are irritated with the "low" crop compensation of Rs14/sq-metre ($0.22) offered by Cairn and want double. “Farmers are blocking access to our sites,” we hear.

“According to government notified rates compensation is Rs14/sq-metre.” The district magistrate is considering the matter and will give a judgement this week.