'Give us more rigs!' demands ONGC in Tripura

Vol 19, PW 5 (05 Nov 15) Exploration & Production

ONGC's Tripura asset has made an impassioned plea for two US-made heavy duty 1300-hp mobile drilling rigs after missing a target to hit 5m cm/d gas production by October 30, 2015.

By this date, the rugged, hilly and landlocked asset in India's north-east, had missed its target and was producing between 4m and 4.2m cm/d of gas. In a five-page letter to chairman DK Sarraf sent on September 26 ahead of his visit to Tripura, Tusar Majumdar, general secretary of the ONGC Tripura Workers Union says the asset desperately needs two US-made Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) mobile rigs that can drill in HP/HT conditions - good news for US rig suppliers Nabors Drilling, Parker Drilling, Stewart and Stevenson and Rotary Oilfield Drilling.

Majumdar argues the rigs will help exploit gas-bearing structures at Sonamura, Sundalbari, Tichna, Agartala Dome, Gojalia, Khowai-Kalyanpur, Atharmura and Khubal. Much-hyped, the Khubal gas discoveries at NELP-III block AA-ONN-2001/1, have proved particularly disappointing, with several false prospects, says Majumdar.

He adds that the Bokabil and Upper Bhuban formations have been fully exploited and that ONGC needs to work hard to tap the lower Bhuban formation. At present the Tripura asset has only five rigs, two are ONGC-owned, says Majumdar.

One of these is 38 years old and the other 28 years old. Both can drill only 1300 metres/month or 11-12 wells/year.

“By including two new rigs," says Majumdar, "we can easily drill 20-22 wells/year."