A $5m exploration well planned for آ“Frontierآ” Madhya Pradesh

Vol 3, PW 24 (22 Dec 99) Exploration & Production

ONGCs desperation to increase reserves is reflected in its decision to resume exploration in one of the countrys least prospective basins the Vindhyan basin in Madhya Pradesh.

This report learns that a Geo Technical Order an internal note which authorises drilling - is under preparation at ONGCs Southern Regional Business Centre (SRBC) and officials expect the first well to be spudded sometime in February next year. A rig that has just returned from Oman, after completing a service contract, will carry out the drilling.

The rig is presently sitting in the port of Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. A source at ONGCC said it will shortly be moved to Damoh in Madhya Pradesh, where ONGC will resume drilling after an aborted attempt in 1991 when the Jabera-1 was drilled to a depth of 3,600 metres and gas shows reported at various levels.

Drilling costs at the Damoh project are tentatively put at Rs25 crores ($5m). A source said ONGC has been galvanised into action by commercial successes in similar regions elsewhere in the world, such as in parts of Siberia, Bessie creek in Australia and Bahai Bay in China.

The Vindhyan region is one of the oldest sedimentary basins in India, with a thickness of about 5,000 metres. It is a mesozoic region.

First drilling here took place in 1960 but was unsuccessful. ONGC hopes for better luck today with advanced technology.

Geologists at ONGC talked about returning to the region as long ago as 1994 but only now is an exploration plan in place. In India, the Vindhyan basin is recognised 'frontier territory'.

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