Gazprom sets April spud date at NEC-OSN-97/1

Vol 8, PW 21 (26 Jan 05) Exploration & Production

Gazprom of Russia will spud its first exploration well in India sometime in April at eastern offshore block NEC-OSN-97/1.

Operator Gazprom and GAIL each hold 50% stake in this NELP-1 block that sits adjacent to Reliances prospective NEC-OSN-97/2 block. Gazprom is in Phase-II of the exploration period, which ends in November and for which the consortium has committed one exploration well and acquisition, processing and interpretation of 500-sq km 3D seismic in its minimum work programme.

Seismic has already been shot and is now being interpreted both in India and Russia. Next month a management committee meeting will see interpretation results of the 3D and also finalise a precise drilling location.

This report learns Gazprom has hired Russian-owned jack-up rig Sakhalinskaya to drill the commitment well. The rig is currently being overhauled and refitted in Dubai and is expected in Indian waters by the end of March for the Gazprom drilling programme, which is likely to last between 45 and 60 days.

Tentative plans are for the drilling location to be in about 65 metres water depth. Built in 1986, Sakhalinskaya can drill in 328-feet water depth.

A source tells us Gazprom might drill a second well on the block during Phase-II but in 300 metres water depth. Gazprom is in the market for a semi-submersible to drill the second well, we learn.

Gazprom and GAIL have high hopes from this well because block NEC-OSN-97/1 sits to the west of shallow offshore block NEC-OSN-97/2 where Reliance has so far drilled four successful exploration wells and reported in-place gas of about 1 trillion cubic feet.