Sarraf wants to lower ONGC 'fracking' costs

Vol 18, PW 18 (07 May 15) Exploration & Production

Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes dominate the fracking business in India but ONGC chairman DK Sarraf is determined to replace them with cheaper alternatives.

On Sarraf’s orders ONGC’s corporate well services chief Alok Nandan travelled to Houston and Calgary in April for a “roadshow” to meet fracking contractors ready to work on ONGC’s ageing production wells. Nandan and a team of colleagues travelled first to Houston on April 24 to meet “small” companies and then to Calgary from April 27-30 where they met 34 companies, including Trican - one of Canada’s largest well services contractors.

"In India we spend around Rs3cr ($500,000) fracking a well," ONGC tells us. “Our wells are very old with tight reservoirs and low production.

Fracking is crucial to maintain and increase production.” Sarraf, it seems, believes Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker are charging ONGC too much and wants to offer an estimated $50m fracking contract for 100 wells to another company - without the bother of a tender.

“We have not identified the wells yet,” adds ONGC. “But they'll most likely be at producing fields in Assam, Gujarat or Rajahmundry.

We have thousands of wells across the country.” Whoever gets the job will be asked to study the wells and prepare frack designs for review by ONGC.

“Each well," we hear, "has different geological challenges."