Uncertainty at HOEC hits Rajasthan drilling plans

Vol 18, PW 7 (20 Nov 14) Exploration & Production

Continued uncertainty over the future of BSE-listed HOEC is impacting its drilling plans, particularly in Rajasthan at onland block RJ-ONN-2005/1, which it jointly operates with Bharat Petro Resources.

Sources at BPRL and third partner Indian Molasses Company (IMC) complain decision making at HOEC has slowed to a snail’s pace following market rumours that Dilip Shanghvi-promoted Sun Pharma is preparing to acquire a 47.18% stake held by Italian explorer Eni. "We don't know what's going on at HOEC," reports a BPRL source.

"We can't do anything but wait until new management takes over.” HOEC issued tenders to hire a rig and services in January 2014 for a five-well drilling programme with little to report since.

On July 9 the Management Committee approved plans to drill at least two wells in 2014-15 to 2500 metres and 3000 metres respectively. “I don’t think we can drill the two wells by January 15, 2015 when Phase-I ends,” adds BPRL.

In September the consortium wrote to the DGH asking for a one-year extension to Phase-I because of a one-year delay in securing defence ministry clearance because of the block’s proximity to Pakistan. BPRL adds the extension application is stuck with the DGH.

This will be the third Phase-I extension at this block. "In total, we’ve lost 565 days," we learn.

"Of that, we’ve already received a 200-day extension till January 15, 2015."