West Bengal drilling challenge for ONGC

Vol 20, PW 14 (06 Apr 17) News in Brief

ONGC shouldn't have wasted time applying to the environment ministry in February to change the locations of three exploration wells planned at its onland West Bengal block WB-ONN-2005/4.

PETROWATCH learns the DGH and the oil ministry are refusing ONGC a 970-day extension to Phase-I which it desperately needs because of 'excusable delays' over land acquisition problems. "Of five Phase-I committed wells we have only managed to drill two," complains an ONGC source.

Left with no choice, ONGC in the last week of March invoked Article 8 of the PSC during the MC meeting to convince the ministry to grant an extension. Article 8 states the "government must assist the contractor in getting permission, licence, lease, right of way, surface rights and permits to execute the Minimum Work Programme." If ONGC is forced to relinquish the block, it must pay around $15m for the unfinished work programme.

In 2014, ONGC saw traces of oil at well Patuli-1 drilled to 2300 metres using a 2000-hp rig.

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