'Only a foreign consultant will do,' says Oil India

Vol 17, PW 19 (08 May 14) Exploration & Production

Oil India says it would prefer an experienced overseas firm to win its tender to hire a drilling consultant for two years to oversee operations at its North East Frontier (NEF) project in Assam, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

“We want to hire the consultant mainly for Mizoram,” says a company source. “Mizoram is a difficult and challenging area, our crew is unaccustomed to these geologically complex situations so we need an efficient contractor to supervise the programme.

” Oil India wants to begin a five-well programme at Mizoram block MZ-ONN-2004/1 by July 10 but fears Indian companies aren’t technically qualified. UK-based Firstdrill and India’s SK Oilfield Equipment are likely to submit EoIs by the May 20 deadline.

Firstdrill already provides contract management services to Oil India’s block in Gabon. Other potential bidders include Ajapa Integrated Project Management Consultants and Schlumberger.

In Mizoram Oil India is under pressure from local authorities to accelerate exploration and provide jobs. “The Mizoram government is very active,” we hear.

“Chief minister Lal Thanhawla has a personal interest in the sector and wants us to begin drilling as soon as possible.” Oil India estimates it can recover a minimum 6 to 7-tcf gas and a maximum of 80-tcf from the Mizoram block.

Whoever wins will also oversee drilling of one exploration well to 2100 metres TD at AA-ONN-2002/3 block in Assam, won in the NELP-IV bidding round.