Coconuts ahoy as Belford spuds ONGC well

Vol 7, PW 19 (03 Dec 03) Exploration & Production

Days before it spud ONGCs first deepwater well in the Gulf of Kutch, Belford Dolphin was asked to load an unusual cargo: a sack full of old coconuts! No, this was not a low calorie diet for the well-bodied crew, more a champagne substitute for the traditional Indian ceremony to inaugurate Belfords first deepwater well in India at location GK-DW-A-A, 180-km off the coast of Gujarat.

On 30th November, ONGC chairman Subir Raha cracked the first auspicious coconut on Belfords derrick floor and the drill string sank into water depths of 1,892 metres at exactly 13:35:07 hours Indian Standard Time. Captain Sven Hogstrom, Belfords Offshore Installation Manager, was in no mood for any mistakes.

We have at least 25 spare coconuts in case Mr Raha is unable to break one on the floor, Capt. Hogstrom told PETROWATCH during a media visit on board the Belford.

After Raha it was the turn of Annette Olsen, CEO of Fred Olsen Energy, Dolphins parent company. It was a very beautiful and fascinating experience, Olsen later told PETROWATCH.

I hope these coconuts bring luck to the project. Belfords crew of 120 members from 21 countries (including five Indian) were so awed by the ceremony they cracked the remainder of Hogstorms 25 coconuts! Belford arrived in Indian waters on 14th November and waited patiently 20 miles off Mumbai for Schlumberger to load logging tools before sailing to Gujarat two days later.

This is Dolphins first ever integrated services project, Belfords drilling engineer Ian Smith tells PETROWATCH. We hope to strike something positive.

Has Belford been lucky in its previous assignments Not really. So far we have struck hydrocarbons on only two expeditions - in Trinidad and in the Pharos Islands, replies Capt Hogstrom.

Belford will drill 37 deepwater wells for ONGC over three years. The first well will be drilled to a target depth of about 4,000 metres within 90 days at cost of about US$ 15,000 per hour.

Indias Great Eastern Shipping Company will provide two supply vessels: Waveney Castle and Highland Drummer. Drilling fluids will come from MI Drilling.

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