IndianOil relinquishes two Cambay basin blocks

Vol 19, PW 4 (22 Oct 15) Exploration & Production

Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a brokenwinged bird, That cannot fly – these opening lines of a poem by oft-quoted American poet Langston Hughes seem apt for IndianOil, which is holding fast to its dreams of success as an upstream operator in India.

Yet IndianOil has decided to relinquish two exploration blocks in Gujarat’s Cambay basin after they failed to ‘fly.’ In mid-September IndianOil wrote to the DGH in conveying its decision to surrender the 199-sq km CB-ONN-2005/7 and the 81-sq km CB-ONN-2005/2 blocks after drilling 10 dry wells.

It must have been a difficult letter to write: IOC had launched itself as an upstream operator with great fanfare after winning these blocks in NELP-VII. “We’ve informed the DGH of our decision," confirms IOC sources.

"The relinquishment process will start now." Another IOC source stresses that even though it failed to discover hydrocarbons it gained valuable experience, adding that it spent only $1.5-$2m drilling each of the 10 wells.

"We kept well costs under control despite our inexperience," we hear. "Many operators spend nearly $5m drilling wells in Cambay.

" And there were some memorable moments, like when IOC saw a 200 metre oil column at 2850-3050 metres in the second exploration well at CB-ONN-2005/2, spud in August 2013. Sadly the well could not be tested because of the tight formation despite help from ONGC’s well-stimulation department.