Make enough deepwater data available for NELP-2

Vol 4, PW 10 (21 Jun 00) Exploration & Production

International oil majors remain sceptical about claims that India's Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) will make available more seismic data for acreage tendered in the next licensing round.

In the last issue of Petrowatch ("8--New data for old blocks in NELP-2") we reported a pledge by the Indian oil ministry to make more and better data available for up to 40 concessions that will be offered later in the year. "The problem with the existing seismic and well data of the past 4-5 yearsis that almost all would have been acquired by ONGC," comments an international oil company that examined acreage in the last licensing round but declined to bid, "The DGH has tried to get such data from ONGC in the past but such efforts have failed as ONGC see that data as theirs to do with as they see fit.

They paid for it, and see it as a bargaining chip in seeking a strategic partner for their deepwater exploration." For deepwater blocks to attract interest, adds the company, the DGH must make sure that the speculative seismic available is of high quality, "If speculative seismic is acquired, there needs to be enough of it, and it needs to be properly available," adds the company, "The original seismic tapes should be available so that companies can use their own processing parameters to maximise the value of the data. This was not possible for the NELP-1 speculative seismic data." He adds: "The DGH/Western speculative seismic survey for NELP-1 consisted of a very wide grid with lines about 40km apart, not nearly close enough to really define any prospects.

They had planned an infill survey but this was scuppered by waning industry interest in NELP and the falling oil price of late1998."