After 12-mth gap Oil India starts Mizoram E&P

Vol 20, PW 26 (21 Sep 17) Exploration & Production

Angry lobbying by Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla for a resumption of E&P in this tiny north-eastern state appears to have paid dividend.

After a gap of 12 months, Oil India (75%) is preparing to resume drilling at highly prospective 'frontier' block MZ-ONN-2004/1 shared with (insolvent) Shiv Vani (15%). Speaking from Mizoram capital Aizawl, Oil India confirms it received the long-awaited three-year extension from a reluctant DGH this month (September) allowing it to drill three remaining wells from its five-well Phase-I minimum work commitment.

"Only this week has the formal letter come," we hear. "Work won't begin immediately, first we have to prepare fresh tenders." Most important will be for a heavy-duty 2000-hp rig that can drill 4000 metres or more through hard rock Oligocene Barial group Renji and intra Jenam geological formations encountered while drilling earlier (plugged and abandoned) wells Aibawk-I (MZ-3) and Keifang-I (MZ-1).

"This will be a fresh rig tender," adds our source, dispelling any notion the contract will be awarded on a plate to Guwahati-based JayBee Energy, which drilled Aibawk-I and Keifang-I. First among the three new wells will be MZ-8 near Thenzawl town around 63-km due south from Aibawk and 130-km by road from Keifang.

Another well at location MZ-2 is also planned but Oil India is replacing the earlier MZ-4/5 location with a new one. "MZ-4/5 is out," we hear.