Urban sprawl forces Selan Exp to give back Ognaj

Vol 23, PW 2 (14 Nov 19) Exploration & Production

Anyone who glanced through Selan Exploration's June 2019 corporate presentation might have wondered why the 13.65-sq km OGNAJ field on the western outskirts of Ahmedabad was conspicuous by its absence.

PETROWATCH learns from a senior company source Selan applied to the DGH to relinquish OGNAJ in March 2019 and received DGH approval in September 2019. "Now we have to plug and abandon three drilled wells," we hear.

"None of them are commercially viable because of heavy oil." Selan blames the rapid urbanisation of Ahmedabad city and the number of new buildings coming up near the block, which renders new drilling impossible.

"The contract area was shrinking and hardly any space is left for drilling," adds our source. "If we continued drilling safety issues would be a major problem."

Discovered by ONGC in June 1982, OGNAJ was awarded to Selan in February 16, 2004. But by the time the company secured a PEL from the Gujarat government on November 27, 2008 almost two-thirds of the field was witnessing the construction of buildings.

"We could not even shoot seismic," we hear. "Our seismic teams could not even enter our own field."

In a final effort, Selan complained to oil minister Dharmendra Padhan when he was in Gujarat to visit ONGC's Mehsana asset on August 22 (2019). But unsympathetic Pradhan said: "We have to coexist; if you have a problem you can approach the local administration."