HOEC slow to focus on its Cambay acreage

Vol 26, PW 11 (18 May 23) Exploration & Production

More than 15 months after winning local approval, HOEC shows no sign of beginning its promised Rs345cr ($41.97m) programme to drill 26 wells at its producing Cambay blocks Asjol and North Balol, which it shares with GSPC.

"Asjol and North Balol are not on HOEC's priority list," says a source. "HOEC is more focussed on its B-80 block."

Located offshore Mumbai, DSF-1 block MB/OSDSF/B-80/2016 or B-80 threw up several technical challenges for HOEC in 2022. "But now both the oil and gas wells (D-1 and D-2) at B-80 are in continuous production," he adds.

"Putting B-80 on full production is HOEC's priority; once that is done, PY-1 is second on its priority list." Starting this year (2023), HOEC plans to drill three wells at the PY-1 field offshore Tamil Nadu.

Our source believes this is why HOEC has failed to begin work at Asjol and North Balol despite a successful public hearing that cleared the campaign on January 18 (2022). At Asjol, HOEC promises to drill four infill and six development wells; at North Balol, it promises 16 development wells.

"When they (HOEC) start at Asjol and North Balol, they want to opt for cluster drilling," we hear. In a February 2023 presentation, HOEC promised to begin drilling four of the 26 planned wells at Asjol and North Balol by late this year (2023).

Each well would cost around Rs13cr ($1.7m) and be drilled to up to 1200 metres TD, said HOEC. At the 15-sq km Asjol block, surrounded by producing ONGC fields North Kadi, Santhal, Balol and Bechraji, HOEC promises two development wells and a hook-up to the Early Production System (EPS).

At the 27.3-sq km North Balol field, located 16-km from Mehsana, HOEC promises two development wells and a hook-up to the EPS. "All these (promised) wells fall within the FDB approved by the DGH," we hear.

HOEC will drill ten wells at Asjol, lay underground pipelines, and hook up to the existing crude gathering facility at the Asjol-5 well site. At North Balol, HOEC plans to drill 16 wells, all to a depth of 1200 metres and lay a four-inch underground pipeline to connect all the wells to the existing main flow line.

HOEC (50% and operator) shares Asjol with GSPC (50%); at North Balol, HOEC (25% and operator) works alongside GSPC (45%) and GNR (formerly Heramec), which holds 30%.