Dry hole for Gazprom and GAIL offshore West Bengal

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

Gazprom’s first exploration well in India has turned out to be a disappointing dry hole.

PETROWATCH learns operator Gazprom and partner GAIL abandoned the well on NELP-I block NEC-OSN-97/1 in the Mahanadi Offshore basin in mid-December after reaching TD of 2500 metres. “There were some hydrocarbon shows,â€‌ says a source, “but they were not commercially viable.

â€‌ Gazprom and GAIL were expecting much more from this well, drilled in 54 metres water depth by semi-submersible Galaxy Driller. “The result was certainly disappointing,â€‌ adds a source.

“When any geoscientist selects a drilling location it is with hope of getting a strike.â€‌ Still, Gazprom and GAIL have not given up.

Soon after the first well was plugged and abandoned, Galaxy Driller moved to its second location about 15-km east into deeper waters and â€کspud’ a second well in 100 metres water depth with TD set around 4000 metres. Gazprom and GAIL are in Phase-II of the exploration period on this block, which ends next month and commits the consortium to two wells and 530-sq km 3D.

“We have already shot the seismic and after the second well the commitment will have been met,â€‌ adds a consortium source. In Phase-III the consortium must drill one well.

A decision to enter Phase-III will be made on results of the second well now under drilling. Bad luck has followed Gazprom and GAIL at this block.

First there was controversy over the export of seismic to Russia for interpretation without defence ministry approval. Then there was the unfortunate incident when jack-up Seadrill-5 (Ekha) suffered a â€کpunch-through’ in October 2005.

Seadrill-5 was moved to Singapore for repairs and the contract was terminated. Gazprom then hired Galaxy Driller, previously drilling for Daewoo at Myanmar block A-1.