ONGC happy with first Bell airborne survey

Vol 20, PW 23 (10 Aug 17) Exploration & Production

After a successful airborne gravity survey by UK-based Bell Geospace, ONGC is convinced this technology is not just hot air.

Based on the 10,000-sq km survey completed earlier this year, ONGC is finalising plans to drill one exploratory well in Assam's Cachar district and another in landlocked Mizoram, which shares international borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh. "We're finalising a location (at the AA-ONN-2001/2 block) in Mizoram," says an ONGC source.

But, he adds, the company has already finalised the other location at the newly carved out Cachar exploratory asset: it will be drilled at the Labak syncline near Silchar during the next fair-weather window, expected to begin by October. ONGC fixed the Cachar location on July 22 at its bi-annual Exploration Portfolio Management Board meeting in Jorhat and plans to officially announce it mid-August.

But it is unlikely to float a rig tender as it already has two rigs on location at Cachar. At the July 22 meeting, asset managers marveled at the airborne survey technology and boldly speculated that they might even cut down on conventional seismic shoots if this pilot proves successful.

"An airborne survey is cheaper than conventional seismic," says a source. "But the results are different and don't give as much sub-surface detail." Expect ONGC to use more airborne surveys as a first step to hone in on specific areas to shoot conventional 3D and 2D, saving time and money.