Belford Dolphin hopes for good luck in the Mahanadi

Vol 9, PW 15 (03 Nov 05) Exploration & Production

ONGCs deepwater drillship Belford Dolphin is hoping that the Mahanadi basin will end its uninterrupted run of dry holes over the past two years.

On 16th October, Belford moved to ONGCs NELP-II block MN-OSN-2000/2, where shes sitting in 800 metres water depth and has been assigned the target of Miocene era sediments at 2250 metres depth. By late October, Belford had lowered the 20-inch casing after which the riser was lowered over two days.

Belford is scheduled to lower the 13 3/8-inch casing and finally a 9 5/8-inch casing in a drilling programme that should be completed within 25 days. Miocene era sediments are expected in the 1400 metres interval between 800 metres and 2200 metres.

South of this block is Reliances gas discovery block KG-DWN-98/3, while on the north lies Oil Indias NELP-II block MN-ONN-2000/1. In September, Transocean deepwater drillship Discoverer Seven Seas moved to MN-OSN-2000/2 but moved out without drilling a well as environment minister A Raja was on vacation and could not grant permission.

Belfords location is the same one that Discoverer was supposed to drill, we hear. At that time ONGC had rushed Discoverer to the Mahanadi basin block because the environment ministry had banned drilling in the region after 31st October till end May because of the Olive Riddley turtle migration season.

This time ONGCs environmental clearance is unconditional, we hear. Theres no outer limit for the date.

Belford Dolphin was supposed to drill at KG deepwater block KG-DWN-98/2 after drilling Indias deepest well (7150 metres depth) at KG-DWN-98/4. Like all its previous wells, this one too was dry.

At KG-DWN-98/2, Belford was to sit in 1200 metres water depth and drill to about 2800 metres. ONGC was certain of a discovery at this location thanks to clear indications from seismic.

But plans were changed and Belford was moved to the Mahanadi basin, to fulfil ONGCs common minimum programme.