Mud loss hinders OVL drilling of fourth well at Farsi

Vol 10, PW 16 (30 Nov 06) Exploration & Production

ONGC Videsh is experiencing mud loss problems at its fourth well at the Farsi block offshore Iran, where in our last issue we announced a discovery.

PETROWATCH learns that by 27th November gas-prone well FB-2 had reached only 941 metres depth, far short of planned TD at 3425 metres to the Kazhdumi geological formation. Drilling is slow because of mud loss, reveals a source.

We are trying to solve the problem. If all goes well, we should finish drilling in another 20 days.

Spud on 28th October, well FB-2 is OVLs fourth exploration well at Farsi and the first that is believed to be gas prone. Mud loss is routine in the drilling process and it is no different here, adds a source.

It is because of the geological formation. A well drilled 25 years ago near this location suffered the same problem.

Agrees an industry expert: Everyone knows that Iran is famous for this type of problem. OVL is probably waiting for the arrival of loss circulation material to add to the mud.

That could be the reason for the delay. In extreme situations, adds our source, mud loss can lead to blowouts and the rig burning down.

OVL needs to be careful, we hear. You can expect to find lots of deadly poisonous hydrogen sulphide in this well.

Separately, we hear the Joint Exploration Committee representing the Indian consortium of OVL, Oil India and Indian Oil met officials from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on 15th and 16th November in Dubai to discuss extending the four-year contract signed in December 2002. A formal request was made for an extension, we hear.

NIOC responded favourably and agreed in-principle to extend the contract for one year. We are now expecting formal confirmation.

Says another source: Getting an extension should not be a problem. OVL is not planning to drill more than the four wells it committed at Farsi and will release the Kedarnath rig after she finishes the well so she can return to India to resume her contract with ONGC.