Frustrated Premier Oil waits for news on Assam

Vol 6, PW 11 (31 Jul 02) Exploration & Production

PREMIER OIL OF the UK is still waiting for Shastri Bhawan's approval to farm in as operator to Hindustan Oil Exploration Company's block AAP-ON-94/1 in Assam.

The proposal was submitted to the oil ministry in April. Premier and its partners are unhappy at this inexplicable delay.

"They have given all relevant papers to the government," a source tells us. "It is a straightforward case, but it is yet to be cleared." Nobody knows who is to blame: the DGH or the oil ministry.

That's small comfort for Premier and would-be partners HOEC, Indian Oil, and Oil India. "God alone knows why it is taking so long and when it will be cleared.

It is very frustrating dealing with the government." As Premier patiently waits for good news, HOEC continues as operator and is gearing up to begin Phase-II in December. Underway Phase-I sees reprocessing of 350 km old 2D shot by Oil India.

The minimum work programme for the three-year Phase-II commits HOEC to drill one well to a target depth of 2,000 metres and shoot 100 km 2D. Below are details of the minimum work programme.

Phase Phase 1 (2 yrs) Phase 2 (3 yrs) Phase 3 (2 yrs) Work programme 1st year: Gather data, complete structural modelling studies, reprocess data Acquire 100 line km 2D seismic, drill one exploratory well to a depth of 2,000 metres/sub thrust prospect/basement Drill two exploratory wells to a depth of 2,000 metres/sub thrust prospect/basement Estimated cost (in $) 950,000 10,700,000 14,000,000 HOEC is 90% owner of this 870-sq km block, and Oil India owns the rest. Premier wants to buy 65% of HOEC's stake and operatorship.

Premier then plans to sell 27% of its stake to Indian Oil.