Uncertainty over CBM rig for Great Eastern at Raniganj

Vol 10, PW 17 (14 Dec 06) Exploration & Production

Kolkata-based Great Eastern Energy is in a hurry to begin producing commercial quantities of Coal Bed Methane from its exploration block at Raniganj South in West Bengal.

PETROWATCH learns the London-listed company has completed drilling 23 wells at the block. Great Eastern spud its 23rd well on 26th September and completed drilling to TD of 1232 metres in October using a rig from Mitchell Drilling.

Oman-based Dalma Energy drilled the first three of the 23 wells at this block. By April next year, Great Eastern hopes to begin drilling another batch of 20 wells under an ambitious three-year Phase-I drilling programme of 100 wells.

But uncertainty surrounds the rig that Great Eastern will use when it resumes drilling. Mitchell Drilling of Australia drilled the first set of 20 wells using a 420-horespower rig that can drill to 1400 metres but Great Eastern did not renew the contract and the rig has been deployed to a Reliance block.

We were hoping for an extension for the rig from Great Eastern, says Mitchell Drilling. They did not renew and the rig has been demobilised.

There is a shortage of CBM rigs and if Great Eastern wants to sign a contract with us, they should sign it before the end of this month. Mitchell says its order book is already full for the whole of 2007.

We can bring a rig from Australia if Great Eastern approaches us, adds Mitchell. But that does not happen in one day.

All these things take time. Concedes Great Eastern: Mitchell Drilling is the only company in India with CBM rigs.

We will talk to them in January or February about hiring a rig. Great Eastern is also waiting for the arrival of its own recently-bought 55-tonne Atlas Copco CBM rig that can drill to 1500 metres and which is also expected to reach the site in April next year, to coincide with the resumption of drilling.

(See Story 15-Great Eastern seeks help for CGD plans in West Bengal).

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