Sagar Vijay spuds deepwater well ahead of time

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

It is not often we hear of ONGC doing something ahead of time but thats exactly what is happening with its deepwater exploration programme in the Kerala Konkan basin off the west coast of India.

In the last issue of Petrowatch we reported ONGCs deepwater drillship Sagar Vijay planned to spud an exploration well in the KK-DW-1/A concession by the 15th November. It now emerges ONGC spudded the well three days ahead of schedule on 12th November.

A source at ONGC confirms that the prospect is for oil, not gas. By Friday (19th November) drilling had reached a depth of 190 metres.

Past reports suggested the water depth was around 900 metres the limit for Sagar Vijays drilling capacity. However, a more precise figure provided to this report last week suggests that the depth is 880 metres exactly.

In Madras, meanwhile, RC Gourh, ONGCs technical director told a press conference on 18th November (see below) that this well is the first drilled by ONGC in the Arabian Sea. He confirmed plans to drill a well some 4,400 metres deep, something that could take between three to four months.

Gourh said favourable indication from seismic and other surveys prompted ONGC to choose the present site. This is ONGCs fourth attempt at drilling a deepwater well.

The first, off the coast of Pondicherry, turned out to be dry, as did the second, which was off the Visakhapatnam coast. Only the third well, also drilled in the Krishna-Godavari offshore proved the existence of hydrocarbons.

That well, in a proven oil-bearing structure, flowed 3,600 barrels of oil. By March next year, Sagar Vijay is expected to head back to the Krishna Godavari basin.