Reliance plans CBM development of Sohagpur blocks

Vol 10, PW 18 (11 Jan 07) Exploration & Production

Mukesh Ambani controlled Reliance Industries is embarking on a major drilling campaign at its CBM (Coal Bed Methane) blocks Sohagpur East and Sohagpur West in Madhya Pradesh.

PETROWATCH learns Reliance has hired two CBM rigs from Mitchell Drilling of Australia to drill a total of 26 wells at the two blocks. Both blocks sit adjacent to each other in the Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh.

“Reliance wants to put these blocks on production,â€‌ says a source. “It will drill up toeight wells per month.

Most of these wells will culminate into development wells.â€‌ One of the Mitchell rigs is a smaller rig used primarily to drill core holes; the other is to drill production wells using â€کair drilling technology’.

Reliance points to the use of state-of the art drilling technology to explain the success of its CBM programme. At Sohagpur West for example Reliance will be pioneering the use in India of â€کhorizontal’ wells.

“Horizontal wells are drilled to increase the production rate by three or four times more than conventional vertical wells,â€‌ he adds. “But the cost of drilling horizontal wells is one and a half times more than conventional vertical wells.

Reliance is also going to be drilling â€کcavity’ completion wells for the first time in India.â€‌ Reliance believes â€کcavity’ wells can increase production two or three-fold, but like horizontal wells, are more expensive.

Special drilling equipment from the US and Australia has been imported to the two blocks ahead of a sophisticated campaign of three sets of seven wells each. All the wells will be drilled in the â€کfairway’area identified as the most prospective on the block.

Reliance is preparing a development plan for DGH approval and is targeting first commercial CBM production in 2008-09. Awarded under India’s first CBM licensing round in 2001, Reliance signed PSCs for the Sohagpur East and West on 26th June 2002 and later announced in-place gas resources at 3.65-tcf, endorsed by the DGH.

Sohagpur East holds 1.69-tcf and Sohagpur West holds 1.96-tcf.