Expect poor interest for onland NELP-IV blocks

Vol 7, PW 7 (18 Jun 03) Exploration & Production

AMID THE hype around the oil ministry's NELP-IV roadshows, one thing stands out: the poor prospectivity of most of the blocks on offer.

Geologists familiar with seismic data of the NELP-IV blocks tell PETROWATCH that companies who decide to stay away wont miss much. Especially from the 11 onland blocks.

All of them are ONGC leftovers. Three of these blocks: CB-ONN-2002/1, CB-ONN-2002/2 and CB-ONN-2002/3 are in the Cambay Basin.

Two of these Cambay blocks are split up into two parts a rather unusual thing for the DGH to have done. In fact, a distance of 50-km separates the two halves of CB-ONN-2002/2.

This has clearly been done to safeguard ONGC's producing blocks all around. "Each of the three Cambay blocks has wells drilled and abandoned by ONGC," says a source.

"The northern block has one abandoned well; the middle one has two abandoned wells; and, the southern block has five abandoned wells." Prospectivity Quite poor. As for the two-onland Cauvery blocks: CY-ONN-2002/1 and CY-ONN-2002/2, they too contain wells - now abandoned - that showed gas when drilled by ONGC.

The only faintly positive side here is that these two blocks lie close to ONGC's gas producing Bhuvanagiri field. "One or two wells can be drilled on these blocks," he adds.

"There will be some gas shows but commercial production may not be sustained." Then, there are four blocks in the Assam-Arakan basin. Three of them, one each in Mizoram, Tripura and Assam, have no seismic data or wells drilled.

"Their inclusion in the NELP-IV round is purely based on geological speculation and analogy with adjacent blocks," he adds. "Quite against international practice."