Santos Petroleum planning to open office in Delhi

Vol 11, PW 3 (14 Jun 07) Exploration & Production

Australian explorer Santos Petroleum is planning to open an office in Delhi, as operations in India step up a gear.

“Having an office in Delhi will make it easier to deal with the DGH and the oil ministry,â€‌ Santos tells us. “In India like anywhere it’s always better to do business face-to-face.

The personal touch helps.â€‌ Most likely in central Delhi, Santos hopes its office will be up and running with a small skeleton staff of local employees by next month (July).

“We might bring in an expatriate to oversee the data evacuation and processing during the operational phase when there’s a boat shooting seismic for us in the Bay of Bengal,â€‌ adds Santos. Last week Santos signed a contract with CGGServices for the CGG Duke to acquire 17,300-lkm of 2D seismic (and gravity/magnetic data) over NEC-DWN-2004/1 and NEC-DWN-2004/2.

The survey is scheduled to start in October or November this year, after monsoon rains. Five companies responded to the company’s tender by the 16th April deadline: CGGVeritas, Fugro, SCAN Geophysical, PGS and Wavefield Inseis.

Valued at around $15m, the survey could take anywhere between three to six months. On 31st May, the Santos Management Committee for blocks NEC-DWN-2004/1 and NEC-DWN-2004/2, comprising two representatives from Santos and two from the DGH, held its first meeting in Delhi.

“Everything went well and the MC approved progress and the work programme,â€‌ we hear. “The seismic can now go ahead.

â€‌ Longer term, Santos believes a physical presence in Delhi will help it better manage future opportunities, such as the forthcoming NELP-VII round. “NELP-VII looks more balanced than the last round,â€‌ we hear.

“There are lots of interesting onshore and shallow blocks, not just deepwater. Anything in the Krishna Godavari will certainly attract attention, not just from us.

â€‌ At some stage Santos says it also plans to open an Indian subsidiary.