Uranium drilling plan at ONGC sparks interest

Vol 20, PW 14 (06 Apr 17) Exploration & Production

With only 64-kg of uranium, the atomic bomb 'Little Boy' flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killing 66,000 people.

Annual worldwide production of the silvery white radioactive metal is now about 70,000 tonnes. ONGC wants to add to that figure.

On March 23, it accepted bids to drill core-holes to explore for uranium in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, ostensibly for peaceful power production purposes. Among those who bid were West Bengal-based Mining Associates, Gurgaon-based South West Pinnacle, Kolkata-based Maheshwari Mining and Nagpur-based Kartikay Exploration.

"We're evaluating technical bids," confirms a source at the ONGC Energy Centre. "When done we'll open price bids.

Our target is to award the contract mid-April." Whoever wins must mobilise rigs within 30 days of the LoA to drill 'P&H' size bore holes to 600-750 metres. "This mobilisation schedule was agreed by all four bidders during the pre-bid (on February 27 in Delhi)," we hear.

After drilling bore holes, drillers must collect core samples and transport them to the ONGC Energy Centre lab in Ahmedabad. In Madhya Pradesh's Vindhyan basin, ONGC wants to drill 20 wells in the Son Valley area, adding up to 9750 metres in total, and 12 wells in the Sagar area, adding up to 6000 metres.

Six wells will also be drilled in the Karjan Padra area of Vadodara in Gujarat, adding up to 4400 metres.