Lockdown pain starts to hurt seismic contractors

Vol 23, PW 11 (09 Apr 20) Exploration & Production

As with E&P activity across India, seismic acquisition in the northeast and Rajasthan is also grinding to a halt as contractors down tools, and crew find themselves stranded in remote locations.

Two companies, in particular, are badly hit: Gurgaon-based Advent Oilfield Services and Hyderabad-based AlphaGeo. Advent managing director Anuj Singla tells us his company began a 180-sq km 3D survey for ONGC at the Lakwa and Rudrasagar PMLs in Assam on March 9 but abandoned work just two weeks later on March 23.

"In Assam, the rains will begin in May," said Singla. "This year's (seismic shooting) season (window) is gone."

Singla adds Advent has postponed completion of the company's 1500-lkm 2D vibroseis survey for Oil India in the Bikaner region of Rajasthan until further notice. "Only 15-20% of the survey is left to complete," adds Singla.

"After the lockdown, we'll resume it." Equally impacted is BSE-listed AlphaGeo, as it struggles to contain the Covid-19 fall-out on two ONGC contracts in Tripura, awarded on January 14 (2020): a Rs48cr (including taxes) contract for 70-sq km full-fold 3D in the Sundalbari area of the Agartala Dome PML and one Rs77cr (also including taxes) job to acquire 120-sq km 3D in the Tichna PML.

"Work and crew mobilisation had begun," we hear. "But it's now been called off, leaving 10-15 senior staff stranded in their field camp.

Some equipment is also held up."