Nothing to show as Belford nears TD in Kutch well

Vol 7, PW 24 (25 Feb 04) Exploration & Production

Tension is mounting among members of ONGCs deepwater team in Mumbai as Belford Dolphin nears its target depth of 6,030 metres at GK-DW-A-A in the Gulf of Kutch.

Some minor background gas has been encountered but nothing exciting, a senior ONGC official tells PETROWATCH. We may have to abandon the well or keep it alive as a potential location for drilling later.

If ONGC abandons the well, Belfords crew will mechanically plug it and seal it forever. Yet optimistic geologists within ONGC remain hopeful.

What if Belford strikes hydrocarbons on the last day By 21st February, Belford had drilled to 5,962 metres below the seabed. Belford is penetrating solid granite rock at a very slow speed of one or two metres an hour, we learn.

Belford will drill some pilot holes on its way to the next location. ONGC tells us that Belford will stay in the Kutch offshore for the whole of 2004 before moving to the Mumbai offshore by early 2005 and on to the Kerala Konkan basin in 2006.

We also learn ONGC has almost finalised Belfords next location in the Kutch offshore: DW-RO-1. Earlier, ONGC had identified location KS-8, which sits about 50-km from the disputed territory of Sir Creek on the maritime boundary between India and Pakistan.

DW-RO-1 is located north-west of the present GK-DW-A-A location. Talks are still on between the foreign ministries of the two countries, reveals ONGC.

But since relations with Pakistan are improving we dont want to jump the gun and spoil the show. If talks between India and Pakistan over the KS-8 location succeed before 29th February, Belford might proceed towards the disputed Sir Creek territory before DW-R0-1.

We have kept both the locations ready, depending on what ends first - Belfords schedule or diplomatic talks, add a source. ONGC has identified three other locations for Belford in the Kutch offshore: GS-DW-2A, GS-DW-3 and GS-DW-5.