Shale gas focus as ONGC plans another 10 wells

Vol 17, PW 15 (13 Mar 14) Exploration & Production

ONGC wants to drill 10 wells exploring shale formations at its Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) acreage in the Cambay, Cauvery and KG basins by December 2014.

"Once we identify locations we'll inform the oil ministry and the DGH," says an ONGC source. When asked why ONGC isn't planning to drill in the Damodar basin straddling Jharkhand and West Bengal, known to be prospective for shale, our source explains ONGC has no PEL blocks in the area.

This isn't ONGC's first shale drilling programme. In August 2010, ONGC hired Schlumberger to drill four pilot shale wells: two each at its Raniganj North and North Karanpura CBM blocks.

And last month (February), ONGC completed drilling Jambusar#55 in Gujarat, the first of four pilot wells under a separate programme to explore Cambay shale. Spud on October 27, 2013, using ONGC's own 2000-hp rig, Jambusar#55 was drilled to 3300 metres TD.

ONGC has ‘logged’ the well which will now be ‘fracked’ so it can flow for testing. "We're considering options," adds ONGC.

"Either our in-house team can do the ‘frack’. Or we can hire a contractor like Schlumberger or Halliburton to do it.

" ONGC will decide how to ‘frack’ Jambusar#55 after consulting its technical and scientific partner US-based ConocoPhillips. "We'll take a final decision in April," we hear.

If it goes ahead ONGC will need a workover rig to ‘frack’ and test Jambusar#55.