HOEC frontier block comes alive after 19 years

Vol 17, PW 24 (17 Jul 14) Exploration & Production

Despite Eni’s plans to exit India, it’s business as usual at HOEC, where the Italian explorer holds 47.18%.

PETROWATCH learns HOEC is boldly planning to revive exploration at frontier basin block GN-ON-90/3 after a 19-year hiatus. In May 1995 HOEC declared ‘Force Majeure’ at this pre-NELP Pranhita Godavari basin block because of threats from Maoist insurgents or ‘Naxalites.

’ Those insurgents haven’t vanished but the block now lies in newly-created Telangana state and HOEC is confident the new state government will give it enough security support. “Telangana’s government has promised to help HOEC,” says an industry source.

“This support was missing before.” Last month (June) HOEC told the oil ministry it wants to begin work again and has applied for a Petroleum Exploration License (PEL).

“HOEC applied for the PEL after the new government was formed,” we learn. Expect a tender in December (2014) to shoot 3000-lkm 2D.

Under the Minimum Work Programme it must also shoot 500-sq km 3D and drill three wells. Under review with partner Mafatlal Industries is the budget.

“Once the budget is approved by the OC the consortium will ask for MC approval,” we hear. “HOEC wants to begin physical work at the block by March or April next year (2015) and make a start on drilling.