Reliance tries its best to keep D6 oil discovery a secret

Vol 9, PW 25 (06 Apr 06) Exploration & Production

Secretive Reliance is not normally given to public expressions of joy over impending corporate good news.

Especially when it concerns news from its highly prospective KG basin exploration block KG-DWN-98/3, otherwise known as D6. But for once the companys top management is learnt to have loosened up a bit and hosted a controlled celebration on (Friday) 24th March at 6pm in a suburban Mumbai luxury hotel.

Invited to the event at the Renaissance Hotel in uptown industrial Powai were all 600 employees (plus spouses) of Reliances exploration and production team. Sadly, for whatever reason, only 200 employees and their spouses could make it.

Even at this select gathering of employees, Reliance could not let go of its customary secrecy and refused to disclose the real reason for the gathering, blandly telling those who attended that it was a Happy New Year celebration. Reliance oil and gas business president PMS Prasad made a general presentation on the companys exploration business.

Only those at the core of the company knew that the discovery of oil at D6 two months ago was the real reason for this celebration. On 14th February, Niko Resources, Reliances 10% partner on this block, announced that exploration well MA-1 had found traces of oil in the older Cretaceous section, opening up a new play on the block.

Until now, Reliance has struck only (albeit significant quantities of) gas on this block. PETROWATCH is now given to understand that well MA-1 was tested and flowed very light and sweet oil at a rate of about 3000 b/d.

The gas seems to be a cap over the oil, we hear. Since then the well has been shut-in because Reliance is unable to hire a rig to carry out more testing.

Reliances contract with Transocean rig Discoverer 534, which has been drilling here continuously since April 2002, ended on 11th March. Discoverer has since sailed to offshore China on contract to Husky Energy and is expected to return to Indian waters only next year.