Essar Oil begins production testing at block CB-ON/3

Vol 9, PW 18 (15 Dec 05) Exploration & Production

Essar Oil has begun production testing at onland Gujarat exploration block CB-ON/3 where it is operator with 100%.

PETROWATCH learns testing began around 23rd November and that Essar plans to test a total of four zones. Testing is being carried out on the B structure within the block and should take about two weeks.

We understand Essar holds high hopes for the zone at 1183 metres, which it believes is the best of all the four zones it has identified. One internal estimate suggests the pay zone is anything between two and four metres thick.

We hear the first well on this structure flowed about 300 b/d crude of 28-degrees API. The B structure measures about 25-sq km in area and the first well was drilled to a depth of about 1400 metres.

Based on the results of this well, Essar decided to drill two step-out wells on the same structure. Both wells were planned within a radius of about 2-km from the first well.

The first step-out well also flowed about 300 b/d confirming the findings of the first well on the structure. On 28th November, Essar spud its second step-out well and aims to reach target depth of 1400 metres.

Essar is in the two-year Phase-II of the exploration work programme on this block, which began in August 2005. Towards the middle of this month, Polish seismic survey contractor Geofizyka Torun will shoot 50-sq km 3D seismic for Essar on this block and possibly another 150-sq km 3D later.

Essar believes the B structure is the most promising unlike the nearby A structure. One exploration well drilled on the A structure reached a depth of around 740 metres and struck heavy oil of API between 12 and 14 degrees.

Analysts tell us it will not be possible to recover this oil using conventional methods and that Essar will have to use steam injection or another similar recovery technique. On the C structure a thick coal seam was encountered but nothing can be done unless Essar receives oil ministrys permission to mine CBM and hydrocarbons within the same block.