Vol 3, PW 2 (17 Feb 99) Exploration & Production

Excited Oil India officials are jumping for joy at news coming out of the Moran region in Assam.

On 23 January, Oil India struck oil in an area it had long given up as exhausted. The Moran oilfield, 440km from Guwahati and 60km from the Nahorkatiya oilfield, was first discovered in 1956.

In the last 44 years, however, production from its oligocene (shallow) horizons declined progressively because of water flooding. Acting on a hunch, Oil India commissioned 2D seismic to explore traces of oil in the same area, but deeper down, in eocene horizons.

The gamble paid off. Oil Indias, first exploratory well - drilled to a depth of 4,673 metres - unexpectedly came in and is today producing 400 barrels a day (b/d).

The company reckons there are a few more promising sands above the zone. Detailed production testing of the well is in progress, ahead of an announcement of estimated reserves "We are very, very excited, because by drilling deeper we have discovered a new oilfield in an existing oilfield", BB Sharma, Chairman, Oil India, tells Petrowatch, from Delhi.

Coincidentally, Sharma was officially appointed as Chairman of Oil India on 22 January, a day before the strike was reported, something he describes as a "good omen". Oil India is now planning more 2D seismic at Moran before finalising a detailed exploration and development programme, which it will submit to the government.

"We intend to exploit this structure with a number of wells", adds Sharma hopefully. Oil India officials reckon the Moran discovery has opened the possibility of discovering oil in deeper horizons elsewhere in the Moran structure and neighbouring areas.

OIL INDIA ACTIVITY ELSEWHERE:- Drilling of a well in the village of Birkhera in the Uttar Pradesh district of Udhampur under Oil Indias Ganga Valley Project has reached a depth of 2,770m and should reach the target depth of 4,250m by March. First positive indications of hydrocarbons came at 1,500m.

Foreign majors bidding for prospect GV-ONN-97/1 under NELP will be encouraged to learn that Oil Indias above licence runs parallel. At Dhakuakhana in Assam, Oil India is drilling a 4th well in a six-well programme on the North Bank of the Brahamaputra.

The first three wells disappointed because of poor flowability due to the tight formation of rocks. The fourth well is being drilled in an independent structure.

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