Wanted: UBD consultant for 11 wells off Mumbai

Vol 24, PW 12 (06 May 21) Exploration & Production

ONGC wants to emulate the success of an earlier Under Balanced Drilling (UBD) programme at the Heera gasfield offshore Mumbai with a proposed 11-well programme across the offshore Mumbai High, Neelam and Heera fields.

On April 8 (2021), ONGC invited offers to hire a consultant for UBD expert professional services on a three-year contract with a May 17 (2021) bid deadline for anyone interested. ONGC wants bids from consultants who can advise it on a UBD programme and select a service provider to carry out UBD, which involves maintaining wellbore pressure lower than formation pressure to allow formation fluid to flow easier into the wellbore.

In its tender, ONGC lists the advantages of this technique, including reduced damage to wells and enhanced production. "ONGC is planning seven (UBD) wells at Mumbai High," a company source tells this report.

"At Neelam and Heera, it wants to drill four (UBD) wells." If all goes to plan, ONGC hopes to select a winner by end-July (2021) and for the winning consultant to mobilise immediately after.

In 2016, ONGC was pleasantly surprised when a UBD programme at Heera increased production from development wells HK#2H and HK#9H by more than 5000 b/d. That said, ONGC was unhappy with what it believed were unreasonable requests from interested consultants during an online pre-bid on April 19 (2021), attended by US-based companies Blade Energy, Askara International and the Jakarta office of Air Drilling Associates.

Blade and Askara asked ONGC to reimburse their business class airfares, not just economy class. They also requested ONGC to pay UBD expert charges to their employees during quarantine before they officially begin the assignment.

Air Drilling asked ONGC to relax the eligibility and experience criteria. ONGC was in no mood to accept and firmly declined to entertain all the requests.