Premier Oil confident of 1-tcf find at CR-ON-90/1

Vol 8, PW 9 (28 Jul 04) Exploration & Production

Indias northeast could prove to be a pot of gold for Premier Oil of the UK, which operates two blocks: AAP-ON-94/1 and CR-ON-90/1.

PETROWATCH understands Premier (84%) is upbeat about block CR-ON-90/1 for which it recently received a three-month Phase-I extension till September and where it is partner with Essar Oil (16%). A source reveals that Premier believes this block has, the potential for large accumulations of hydrocarbons.

Premier is looking for a gasfield of the size of one trillion cubic feet or bigger, he tells us. They wouldnt be in this region unless theyre confident of finding big accumulations.

Premiers optimism centres on the fact that CR-ON-90/1 lies in the same trend as the Assam-Arakan Fold Belt that stretches into areas of neighbouring Bangladesh, where huge discoveries have been reported. So far Bangladesh has reported discoveries totalling 19 trillion cubic feet.

But earlier exploration efforts by ONGC on the Indian side have been unsuccessful due to the lack of modern seismic imaging techniques and drilling technology. Premier believes this block is very prospective though it is technically challenging, he adds.

Getting good seismic images is difficult because of its geologically complex nature. Drilling at CR-ON-90/1 encounters high pressures and steep tectonic folds.

Its understood the northern part of the block could hold oil and gas while the southern part could hold gas. According to our source, Premiers strategy on this block is similar to the strategy of operator Enpro on neighbouring NELP-IV block AA-ONN-2002/1: to find gas on a similar scale to Reliances offshore KG discovery.

It would then make commercial sense to lay a pipeline to transport this gas direct to Delhi. First exploration at CR-ON-90/1 began in1937 when operator Burmah Oil Company reported a blowout.

Premier is collecting historical data such as this to better understand the geology of CR-ON-90/1 before drilling.