West Bengal hopes rise over new Reliance gas find

Vol 8, PW 7 (30 Jun 04) Exploration & Production

West Bengal is euphoric at last weeks announcement by Reliance of a new gas find offshore neighbouring Orissa.

We wont have to depend on gas from Bangladesh or Myanmar any longer, communist chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya tells PETROWATCH. This gas will be available for projects in West Bengal.

Bhattacharya is also happy because the Reliance find increases the chance of a gas strike offshore West Bengal where ONGC has met no success. I am not a geologist but people tell me this find will improve our chance of striking our own offshore gas reserves.

On 24th June, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani told shareholders in Mumbai that three wells (Dhirubhai-9, 10 and 11) drilled at the NEC-OSN-97/2 block offshore Orissa could hold between three and five trillion cubic feet in-place gas. Reliance is now classifying the in-place reserves at NEC-OSN-97/2 into proven, probable and possible categories.

The wells will have to be flowed to see the pressure drop and other performance parameters, says an industry source. Reliance has declared the three gas discovery wells from three different structures, evidently to be eligible for the tax holiday under NELP.

In a barely-concealed reference to ONGC, Ambani said Reliances discovery comes after earlier explorers drilled 61 unsuccessful wells. Generally hydrocarbons are found in about 5% of the area of a block, adds an industry source.

Those who do not do their homework well drill in the 95% area of the block that do not hold hydrocarbons. Niko Resources - Reliances 10% partner at NEC-OSN-97/2 later announced the three wells were drilled in water depths of 64-74 metres.

Initial in-place reserve estimates for the three wells is approximately one trillion cubic feet of gas, said Niko. The operator estimates the potential gas in-place may be 4 trillion to 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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