Shell pleads poverty for three wells in Rajasthan

Vol 5, PW 6 (09 May 01) Exploration & Production

Stubborn officials are not the only obstacle to Cairn's aggressive exploration programme in India.

So too is the global multinational Shell. Both have a 50% stake in the 11,400-sq km RJ-ON-90/1 concession in Rajasthan.

Last November disagreement surfaced because Cairn wanted to drill three exploration wells while Shell - claiming better opportunities elsewhere - wanted to drill one. Shell has won the argument.

We learn only one exploration well will be drilled in Rajasthan. It's scheduled for July, depending on the availability of a rig.

"Shell gave a lot of spurious reasons for not approving a three-well programme," reveals a source. "They said they didn't have enough money!" Rajasthan aside, Cairn plans an aggressive drilling programme for the rest of the year.

A company statement on 1st May announced plans to drill four more offshore exploration wells in the Krishna Godavari, two at KG-OS/6 and two at its deepwater block KG-DWN-98/2. In February Cairn discovered gas at prospect "N" in KG-DWN-98/2 but we learn it won't be drilling an appraisal well yet, citing "too much happening everywhere else." After the rains stop in October Cairn should start a six-well development programme of its giant discovery at the 'Lakshmi' gasfield in CB-OS/2.

But that's another story.

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