'Eureka(!)' for Cairn Energy in Gujarat

Vol 4, PW 8 (24 May 00) Exploration & Production

Once again Cairn Energy has proved the critics wrong.

Last August it struck oil in Rajasthan when all around predicted a dry hole. Now the company has announced a major gas discovery at its CB-OS/2 concession in the Cambay Basin offshore Gujarat.

In a press note released on 16th May the Edinburgh-based explorer said its CB-A-1 well flowed at a stabilised rate of 28.1m cubic feet of gas per day (800,000 cubic metres a day). The note adds that the estimated mean reserves for this structure is 400bn cubic feet and that the whole concession - across several structures - is possibly sitting on hidden reserves of two trillion cubic feet.

The significance of the discovery was highlighted by an unprecedented message of congratulation issued the same day by Indian oil minister Ram Naik. Cairn tells Petrowatch the well was spudded on 29th April, logged on 11th May, tested on 15th May and suspended (possibly as a potential producer) on 18th May.

"We need to drill more wells on the structure to prove up reserves," learns Petrowatch, "The best place for a production platform may be somewhere else." Cairn intends to drill two more wells in the structure end-monsoon in October and has mapped out a further five prospects for further exploration. "Our estimate of 2 trillion cubic feet of reserves is unrisked but we have eliminated a lot of the risk with this well." Cairn said credit for the speedy completion of the well goes to ONGC ("which released a rig in record time") and Gujarat authorities ("who were very helpful with the approvals").

Cairn is confident it can draw on the experience gained from the Sangu gasfield in Bangladesh to develop CB-OS/2 fast. "They are similar operating environments." Sangu is today operated by Shell, but was developed by Cairn.